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  • Tommy Yap

Wow! A Whole Year!

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

It's unbelievable to say, but March marks the first anniversary of Tulsa Voter Van! This time last year, we drove our first voters to the polls for the Presidential Primary Election. Our growth in this one year has been incredible, and it wouldn't have been possible without our partners, community members, donors, and supporters. (Not a donor yet? Your $21 donation right now will keep us going another year!)

Since the beginning, we've had the ethos that we wanted to help voters on the last mile of voting. Initially, that was literal; we helped people by driving mile after mile to polling location after polling location across Tulsa. When the Coronavirus hit, we had to rethink what that motto meant to us.

Pressing on through a pandemic, Tulsans made sure our voices were heard throughout each election. And we made sure Tulsa Voter Van was there to support voters as much as we could and as safely as possible. We were a fledgling organization rocked by a global emergency, and while we could have stalled, we revved forward and continued to grow.

We pivoted to meet voters' needs in real-time, starting with expanding to support absentee ballot voters. We launched a Photo ID printing service, an on-call notary list, and partnered with local organizations to man pop-up notary booths. When we resumed rides, we were equipped with thermometers and antibacterial gels, wipes, and sprays. All the while launching new resources like a sample ballot translated in Spanish.

The "last mile of voting" was no longer literal. It had evolved and grown as we did. The last mile became symbolic of the barriers people face when trying to drop their ballot in a ballot box. Who knew that in under a year, two vans, a signup form, and a phone line could grow into a multifaceted voter support team.

What's on the horizon, you ask? In November, we debuted the Community Notary program to promote notary access in underserved areas. Since then, we have partnered with Tulsa's Civic Learning Coalition (CLC) to expand the program. We are now on track to launch a team of Voting Ambassadors to guide voters from registration to notarization. We are very excited about this project and can't wait for you to meet the first class!

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