Youth Powered Democracy
Chicago Votes’ oldest initiative Parade to the Polls™ has evolved into something much larger–Reimagining Democracy! The Reimagining Democracy initiative encompasses Parade to the Polls™, our elections and legislative tracking curriculums in CPS, our College Polling Place Campaign, Election Judge Recruitment, GOTV campaigns, and the Voter Guide program. That’s A LOT, but essentially the Reimagining Democracy initiative engages young Chicagoans to disrupt the status quo of politics.
Parade to the Polls™
One of Chicago Votes’ oldest initiatives, Parade to the Polls™ is a celebration of democracy. Our mission is to create a tradition of voting through hyper-local, civic action. We bring young people to the polls from high schools, colleges, concerts, and large-scale events.
High School Parades
Our high school Parade to the Polls™ program focuses on ensuring 18 year olds’ first time voting experience is safe, comfortable, and fun! Chicago Votes has worked with over 17 local high schools and executed over 50 parades take over one thousand students to cast their first ballot.
The College Parade to the Polls™ program focuses on brining campus organizations together to discuss issues impacting students both on campus and in their communities. Students come together to rally in a centralized location on campus and parade to the closest Early Vote Polling Place.
Citywide Parade to the Polls™ was born in 2016 when Chicago Votes partnered with local, Chicago artists to put on a free get out the vote concern in Millennium Park. Our second citywide event was hosted in partnership with Women’s March Chicago. Each of these events attracted thousands of Chicagoans and encouraged them to take advantage of Early Voting by coordinating MASSIVE marches to the polls.
Party at the Polls
Chicago Votes partnered with the #VoteTogether coalition during 2018 midterm elections to execute our very first, hyper local events that worked to increase voter turnout in our targeted communities.
Legislative Tracking Curriculum in Chicago Public Schools
From passion project to full fledged curriculum, our legislative tracking activities in CPS bring students into the legislative process! Alex Boutros, community organizing manager, dreamt up the legislative tracking curriculum to demystify the legislative process and ensure young people have input in the policymaking process.
So, what does the legislative tracking curriculum entail?
- Learning how a bill moves through the House and Senate
- Selecting a bill to track and either support or oppose
- Creating a campaign plan for the bill
- Reaching out to lawmakers