About Tulsa Voter Van

Mission

Tulsa Voter Van is a nonpartisan voter access organization that reduces barriers to the ballot box Tulsa residents encounter.

The Last Mile

We believe that a voter's path comes in three stages, each with its roadblocks. First, a voter is registered, then they are educated about the election, and then they cast their ballot. The last stretch, between education and voting, is what we call "the last mile of voting." We pioneered this model as a way to understand our mission. It allows us to pinpoint where and how we want want to support a voter on their journey. All of our programs support voters by reducing the barriers to getting their ballot in the ballot box. That dash to cast a ballot is the last mile, and we aim to make the ride a little smoother. 

Inclusion

Tulsa Voter Van does not and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, political belief, socioeconomic background, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Tulsa Voter Van is a nonpartisan organization. We do not support or discuss political ideologies outside of our mission with our riders, volunteers, or in public comments. 

Background

Tulsa Voter Van is a not-for-profit voter access program dedicated to helping voters on the last mile of voting. Tommy and Josh Yap began the organization in March 2020 after searching for ways to help people vote. They rented two vans and advertised their effort. Since then, Tulsa Voter Van has grown from two rented vans into a network of volunteer drivers. The organization has consistently innovated and expanded for each new election. In June 2020, the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, we pushed into absentee support and launched a text message service to send ID photocopies to voters for their absentee ballots. In August 2020, we endeavored on our next expansion by providing rides during early voting. In November 2020, we began our accessible van service and Spanish language hotlineThe organization is currently in the planning phases of new groundbreaking programs. We are dedicated breaking down the barriers to voting and will meet the next election with new ways to help voters. 

Who

Tommy Yap

Executive Director

he/him

Catherine Betances

Director of Voter Access

she/her & they/them

The organization is led by co-founder and executive director Tommy Yap. He has a Masters of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Cal Poly Pomona. While in school, he focused on studying American Government, how it works, elections, and how it's built. His passion for accessible government and equity inspired him to start Tulsa Voter Van. Tommy is also the Policy and Research Coordinator with the Metriarch Collaborative, where he focuses on policy research, resource gathering, and writing briefs. 

Catherine Betances (pronouns: she/her & they/them) has been a Spanish translator and helpline volunteer since June 2020 and is thrilled to join as the Director of Voter Access in April 2021. In this role, Betances will work to elevate the diverse needs of our community in order to improve our services and get our community to the polls! Betances also works as the Education and Outreach Manager at Take Control Initiative.

Tulsa Voter Van is a volunteer-run organization. Over the course of 2020, we had a team of 23 volunteer drivers, translators, and programmers dedicated to helping voters. Without them, Tulsa Voter Van would not have been able to provide transportation and services to each person who contacted us.

 

Tulsa Voter Van is a joint project between Tommy Yap Advocacy Support, LLC and Pigeon Ventures, LLC and is housed under Take Control Initiative