The Ohio Student Association is committed to developing a youth electorate as a primary tool for power-building.
Building an electorate is a lot like raising a child. We cannot ignore it for long periods of time, taking no responsibility for its development, showing up only when we want something. Instead, we must nurture our electorate, educate it, and teach it our values. We must offer it culture, community, and a sense of belonging. We must commit to its growth in the long term. And that is exactly what we are doing at OSA.
Alongside partners Black Lives Matter Cleveland, the ACLU of Ohio, NAACP Cleveland, and Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Northeast Ohio, OSA played a key role in the Citizens for a Safer Cleveland campaign, which fought to pass a robust police accountability ballot measure to make Cleveland safer for everyone, regardless of our zipcode or skin color. OSA members spent countless hours helping to collect 15,000+ signatures in order to put the issue on the local ballot, and countless more registering, educating, and turning out student voters on Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University’s campuses. All the tireless groundwork and organizing paid off, and on November 2nd Issue 24 passed in a landslide victory, delivering Cleveland the most powerful civilian oversight over police in the country!
This recent election saw record youth voter turnouts, largely due to the valuable work of grassroots organizing. OSA did its part in helping to get out the vote and to make sure young people’s voices were heard. Leading up to the election, we held and participated in texting banks, sending over a million texts, and making over 100,000 calls. On the day of the election, we also showed up for vote tripling, during which we made some 10,000 relational contacts. For the 2020 election, OSA released several voter guides for Cuyahoga, Hamilton, and Franklin counties. We distributed over 260,000 voter guides, and over five days, while featuring these resources on our website, we got over 1,500 views. Check them out here.
OSA ran the largest in-state statewide field and digital program for young people 18-29 in Ohio, activating our youth vote communities turn out at 27%— nearly 2.5x the youth vote turnout in last midterm election. In 2018 alone, we sent over 110,000 texts, registered over 30,000 young voters, and distributed 200,000 voter guides.