WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MONTANA + OHIO
• Forward Montana Foundation works to build political power in Montana’s young people. They focus on leadership development, voter education + registration (including pre-registration of 17 year-olds), issues advocacy, voter turnout. They do year-round registration using community events like music festivals to activate young voters. Largely urban, they also conduct a campus tour that includes rural tribal colleges. Their goal for this election cycle is to register 8,000 voters.
• Western Native Voice Education Project nurtures and empowers new native leaders + impacts policies affecting Native Americans through community organizing, education, leadership + advocacy. Montana’s Native population is about 9%, evenly divided between tribal + urban areas. WNV is active on all eight Montana Indian reservations as well as major urban centers. Due to weak communications infrastructure (weak broadband, fewer cell phones, less media) organizing has to start early. Their focus is on promoting access to voter registration kiosks + on outreach to youth, especially those turning 18. Goal is to register 1,000 voters this year.
• Ohio Women's Alliance is a “power-building Reproductive Justice organization providing programming, resources + education for women, femmes, gender-nonconforming folks + youth throughout Ohio.” An abortion rights ballot initiative this November presents an important opportunity to register + mobilize voters. OHA is the lead statewide group doing signature collection + organizing around this issue. They have a goal of 400,000 voter contacts by phone, text, digital: site-based + in-person canvassing.
• Ohio Student Association “creates avenues for youth to practice democracy together; to learn how they can shape their future through elector action.” OSA promotes youth voter registration, education + turnout. They organize youth around issues that affect their lives like educational funding, LGBTQ rights + abortion rights. Their goals in 2023 are to support the abortion rights initiative, defeat bills attacking LGBTQ youth + to advocate for college and county veteran IDs for voting. They plan to collect 5,000 signatures + turn out the youth vote for the reproductive freedom ballot initiative.