Primary Election Wrap Up 2022

With your ongoing support, we’ve been busy fighting for values-aligned candidates and boosting voter turnout in Oregon’s primary elections! Voting is a critical way for young people to be civically engaged, and we know that it’s not only a truly impactful way for young people to have a say in issues that affect our everyday lives, but that it is a key way to begin introducing young people to other forms of organizing and engagement as well. The primary elections are now over (phew), and we’re taking some time to reflect on how it went.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve adapted to doing virtual get out the vote (gotv) efforts for the past two years. For the 2022 primary, we reached out to 18-29 year olds that are located in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas county.

GOTV by the numbers: 

  • Our endorsement committee of board members, youth cohort members and volunteers endorsed a broad slate of candidates who come from our communities and will fight for Oregon youth.
  • With the help of 6 paid Election Interns, we made 54,237 calls getting out the vote to young people ages 18-29. The Election Interns were a highly engaged and enthusiastic group of young people who were excited to talk to voters about the candidates. Several interns made their own fact sheets about the candidates to be able to answer more voter questions.
  • Election Interns’ calls elevated our Tier 1 candidates: Jo Ann Hardesty, AJ McCreary, Wlnsvey Campos, Brian Decker, Annessa Hartman and Libra Forde. Jo Ann Hardesty, Wlnsvey Campos, Annessa Hartman, and Libra Forde secured the nomination to move forward to the 2022 general election.

We know have some huge opportunities coming up in the 2022 November election. We’ll be working to reach out to young voters ages 18 – 29 to help elect progressive candidates be elected, as well as pass critical ballot measures focusing things like the Portland charter review commission proposal.

We truly appreciate your trust and partnership in making this work happen, as led by young people.

Take care,

Devin Ruiz, she/her
Movement Building Director

Welcome Charlie to Next Up

Joining us as of June 2022 is Charlie Ducharme, who will be helping our team as the new Development and Operations Coordinator. In this position he will prioritize grounding his work in equity and social justice – fostering a sense of belonging and collective power. You can get to know a bit more about Charlie below.

charlie ducharme

Charlie Ducharme

Development and Operations Coordinator

Charlie (he/him) is a young queer activist from Seattle, WA who is committed to understanding systems of oppression that have impacted and harmed marginalized communities. Before entering the nonprofit sector, Charlie’s experience consisted of being a youth organizer in multiple spaces, voicing gender equality and diversity. In the fall of 2021, Charlie became involved in Next Up as a BSW intern where he worked on restoration of voting rights, voter registration, and fundraising. After graduating with a Bachelors of Social Work and Minor in Gender & Women’s studies, Charlie is pleased to return to Next Up as the Development and Operations Coordinator. In this position, he will prioritize grounding his work in equity and social justice – fostering a sense of belonging and collective power. Outside of work, you can find Charlie hiking, taking photos, or spending quality time with loved ones (especially his two golden retrievers, Tommy and Ralph).

Welcome Iya and Erin to Next Up!

We’re so excited to welcome two new amazing people to the Next Up organizing and youth leadership development team. Iya McSwain (they/them), has joined as the Youth Leadership Organizer, and Erin San Antonio (they/siya) is the Community Engagement Organizer. Read more about each of them below.

image of iya mcswain

Iya C. McSwain

Youth Leadership Organizer

Iya (they/them) is a young Black activist, who holds many identities that influence their desire to show up for the community and the future generations to come. Born and raised in Portland, OR, they have dedicated time to understanding the systems of our society and how they impact and have harmfully impacted the communities they belong to, but also the communities that share similar systemic oppression. With this knowledge of systems of power and their own lived experience, they intend to use their passion and longing for a liberated and free world, to push for radical change within the institutions that make our society. Outside of organizing, Iya spends much of their time learning how they can practice holistic wellness as a form of radical self/community healing. They are a lover of astrology, literature, music, and nature!

photo of erin san antonio

Erin San Antonio

Community Engagement Organizer

Erin (they/siya) is an unapologetically fierce, queer, non-binary, Tagalog femme. With their work rooted in centering the importance of community-based healing to support personal and organizational transformation and growth, they perceive their daily work as a love letter unfolding and an embodied testament of their people’s survivance. Their involvement at Next Up started as a Summer Base Building Fellow and the Youth Vote Coordinator in 2020. After graduating with their bachelor’s degree and graduate certificate in June 2021, they’ve returned in a professional capacity as the Community Engagement Organizer for their childhood home in Clackamas County. In this position, they are eager to intentionally disrupt the threads of heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and racialized capitalism to weave together new stories that document the rich fullness of living wholly and authentically as queer/trans, BIPOC youth, survivors, and our collective liberation. Outside of work at Next Up, you can find Erin at pop-ups under the Kalat House, mutual aid organizing, or near a half-finished creative project. 

2021 Legislative Wrap Up

Dear Friend,

It’s time for the 2021 legislative wrap-up. When we entered the session in January we had a bold agenda to transform our electoral system. We prioritized bills that were rooted in racial, economic, and youth justice, and more specifically, ones that would break down systemic barriers to participation, and increase equitable processes and outcomes in elections. 

Now that the legislative session has concluded, here are some of the achievements that we are celebrating with our community, coalition and organizational partners: 

  • Updating Postmark Date for Voting Accessibility (HB 3291): Ensures every ballot postmarked by Election Day is counted.
  • Voter Language Access Act (HB 3021): Requires the Secretary of State’s (SOS) Office to make publicly available the top 5 most commonly spoken languages, other than English, on their website and instructs the SOS to translate and publish voter pamphlets to be made publicly available on their website. Led by Forward Together Action.
  • Civics Education Standards Updates (SB 702): This bill requires that when the State Board of Education is reviewing social studies standards for kindergarten through grade 12, they shall consider emphasizing civics education and consult various community stakeholders.
  • Fair Shot for All: We worked in coalition to support a legislative agenda that roots Oregon’s economic recovery in racial, gender, and economic justice. Lawmakers heard our calls for change and passed Child Care for Oregon (improving access to care and providing financial stability for providers), Sanctuary Promise Act (protecting immigrants from racial profiling) and Healthy Homes (investing in-home repairs to improve energy efficiency and safety).

While Oregon is one of the most accessible states to vote in (and continues to be thanks to these new policies), the attack on voting rights and significant voter disenfranchisement in many other states made it all the more imperative that we passed pro-voter policies to demonstrate that these practices are secure, and necessary for equitable engagement.

So, while the passage of the listed bills was important, failure to pass our other priority bills this session was a missed opportunity to further advance accessibility and racial justice in voting systems.

Through our partnership with Oregon Justice Resource Center, Oregon had the chance to be the first state to restore voting rights to currently incarcerated individuals in the Oregon Department of Corrections custody. The bill (HB 2366/SB 571) advanced out of its policy committee before being held up in the budget committee.

Other legislation that did not pass this session included 17-year-olds voting in the primary election if 18 by the general election (HB 2679); Modernizing Voter Registration by expanding Automatic Voter Registration to more state agencies and improving online voter registration (HB 2499); Ranked Choice Voting (HB 2678/SB 791), and lowering the voting age to 16 for school district elections (SB 776). 

We’re so thankful to the countless people who showed up by emailing their legislators, giving verbal or written testimony, texting friends to get involved or simply sharing our social media graphics to support our work this session. 

We look forward to continuing this work in the interim by having conversations with partners and legislators so that we are ready to come back strong in the 2022 short legislative session.

Thank you for your continued support and advocacy to see out our vision of young people boldly leading the state forward, an inclusive and accessible democracy, and strong and resilient communities.

With gratitude,
Isabela Villarreal, Policy and Communications Manager

Community Engagement

  • 940+ people sent emails to their lawmakers in support of restoration of voting rights, expanding automatic voter registration, and/or supporting 16 and 17 year olds voting in school district elections.
  • Over 34 pieces of written and verbal testimony were given from staff and volunteers.
  • Held 12 legislative advocacy events – including monthly letter writing to currently incarcerated individuals, educational events on ranked choice voting and Vote16, and our first ever virtual youth lobby day


Here are other notable bills that we endorsed that also passed this session:

Slavery Abolition on the Ballot (SJR 10): Led by OASIS. Asks voters to abolish the provision in the Oregon Constitution that allows slavery and involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime.

Student Voice Bill (HB 2590): Led by Oregon Student Association, the Student Voice Bill, championed by Rep Alonso Leon, will create a legislative committee to tour every public university and community college in Oregon to hear from students, faculty, and staff and focus on what support institutions need to help underrepresented students, particularly BIPOC students, low-income students, rural students, student parents, and students with a GED or High School equivalency.

Oregon Energy Affordability Act (HB 2475) + 100% Clean Energy for All (HB 2021): Led by Oregon Just Transition Alliance, the Energy Affordability Act will help Oregon families afford their energy bills through lower energy rates for residential ratepayers with lower incomes who most need the relief. 100% Clean Energy for All is an ambitious bill to transition the state’s electricity to 100% clean energy by 2040 while centering benefits for communities of color and rural, coastal, and low-income communities and workers.