RSVPS for this event are closed. If you would like to attend, please email [email protected]


Join us on Wednesday, August 16 for our 5th Annual Youth Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC) Hearing! 


Our Youth VAAC Hearing is a chance for young people to voice their thoughts and concerns on voting and local government in New York City. Youth voices are often excluded in conversations on civic participation, and we want to create a space that centers and uplifts the experiences of New Yorkers aged 14-25. The feedback we receive at this event will guide our youth programming over the next year. While we are prioritizing the statements of youth, New Yorkers of all ages are encouraged to attend as audience members.


The Committee wants to hear from young people across the city about their experience with voting or registering to vote in New York City elections. Potential topics include the following questions:

- Why is it important for young people to participate in local elections?

- What steps should New York City take to increase youth voter turnout?

- What are some of the barriers that young people face while registering or pre-registering to vote? 

- If you have voted before, what was your experience like voting in your first election? How did it feel to make your voice heard?


This year’s hearing is a hybrid event and you can participate in person or on Zoom. In-person activities will begin at 4 p.m. We will have food, games, a photo booth, and a raffle for in-person attendees. The official hearing will begin at 5 p.m. sharp. If you’d like to deliver spoken testimony in-person or virtually, please fill out the form included in the Zoom confirmation email. 


The following accessibility services will be provided for this meeting: American Sign Language interpretation, CART transcription, and Spanish-language interpretation.


We're looking for young New Yorkers to testify about their experiences voting and to provide recommendations to the Committee on how to improve youth outreach. Your city's democracy needs you, and we want to hear YOUR story. 


There are three ways to provide testimony:


1. Speak at the hearing in-person on August 16. If you are planning to testify in person, please RSVP and fill out the Google form that is included in the confirmation email.  If you’ve never spoken at a public hearing before, you can reach out to our Youth Programs Manager, Olivia Brady ([email protected]) who can help you craft your statement. In the interest of time, a limited number of in-person testimony spots are available. 

2. Speak at the hearing via Zoom on August 16. If you are planning to testify via Zoom, please RSVP and fill out the Google form that is included in the confirmation email. If you have any other questions about joining via Zoom, please contact our Intergovernmental Analyst, Turquoise Baker ([email protected]). 

3. Submit a written statement. If you would like to submit a written statement, please email your statement to our Intergovernmental Analyst, Turquoise Baker ([email protected]). You can also submit a work or art or other creative piece that conveys the feelings or experiences that young people have related to voting and New York City government. We are collecting an unlimited number of written statements. These will all be posted to our website.


For any accessibility needs, please contact [email protected] by Monday, August 14 so we have time to arrange accommodations. There will be live ASL interpretation. The Campaign Finance Board offices are fully accessible. An accessible entrance can be found on Barclay Street. Masks are not required but strongly recommended. We will have masks available at the event.

August 16, 2023 at 4:00pm - 6:30pm
CFB Office or Zoom
100 Church St
12th Floor
New York, NY 10007
United States
Google map and directions
Olivia Brady · · 917-890-5528

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  • Kory Gittens Kory Gittens Commented
    Organizer 2x of 2020 cycle / Queens Native/ CCNY

    Good evening Democrats,

    Since 2016, I’ve organized in NY state and more centrally NYC. Each cycle since that time voter turnout and participation has cratered – constant decline. This past midterm, every borough with the exception of the Republican strong hold of Staten Island that I know intimately electorally – it was my entire summer 2020 for Max Rose fell in turnout. Every red region statewide surged – and NYC fell flat. NYC is the only reliably blue district in the state – also the most populous.

    We are too comfortable with that safeguard. It is not a sure thing.

    August of last year – I was in discussion with multiple NYSD operatives. One thing about me, I always have receipts for my claims. They are available upon request. I was told verbatim “hire today” in specific regions as an organizer if not as regional organizing director of NYC. I was prepared to haul ass for our governor, and the summation of our state party and state. For about two weeks, constant communication and texting – updates on progress – passed vetting, confirmation of details etc. 2 interviews that went well quickly followed by a third who requested a second – which indicates how much deference our interaction was to her – that was abrupt via phone and then upon follow up never replied to me. I’ve reached out to multiple political operatives – cryptic responses, one word answers, left on read, ghosted – you name it – you’d think I was inquiring about a dead body to the underboss of John Gotti.

    Understand that our state party, was conducting a coordinated campaign for the first time in at least a decade – because Cuomo didn’t utilize organizers. He consolidated support the old fashioned way – by deals – he locked up regions – boss tweed style. I staffed the state convention in 2018 – Nixon detractors trying to voice their disapproval? Drowned out by Cuomo supporters yelling over them in multiple and viscerally . I remember it plain as day.

    Those same people are still there. Understand they were hiring organizers and considering candidates for ROD’s for the entire city and based upon the results potentially LI too – in August. LATE AUGUST. For an election in November. I was offered hire today if I had chosen to onboard in either Westchester county or Hudson Valley. I chose to wait for NYC because the “staff plan was still in flux” . There was no plan for engaging the entirety of NYC as of August 11. Hochul came within 6 pts of Zeldin and remember Biden flew in to do press at a semiconductor factory. That was intentional – they knew NY state was too close and thus POTUS appeared. This is a dangerous game and the people tasked with navigating it are NOT exhibiting competence.

    I was prepared THEN to engage NYC and I’d extend to LI too as I have organizing experience in one of Suffolks largest townships – Huntington. I know how to organize defensively in Republican strongholds utilizing persuasion tactics on issues tailored to constituency group. I’m prepared now.

    NYSD – has about 17 months to build engagement efforts to two groups it has never courted fully EVER before. If done so in effort, speech, funding (Real funding) and most importantly follow through democrats stand to retain control in this state for the next generation omnipotently.

    They are :

    1) Gen Z – every cycle about 8 million new voters are eligible to cast a ballot. Since 2018 – youth turnout has increased and steadily – CONSECUTIVELY. Most importantly to RESULTS – the capture of the HOUSE , Biden’s election and midterms unprecedented performance. They are engaged, the are respondent, and they have saved this party’s ass 3 times in a row. Someone needs to engage them on issues – all of them. Chart where they scatter on an ideological spectrum by issue and then the national party needs to intake that distribution and pivot their policy and governance norms to that reporting to that voting power. And they are as of 2024 – set to be statistically equivalent to the elder half of the electorate. If not larger. This is a generational crossroads and inventory is necessary. NOW. To base future plans on.

    2) Black Men – Stacey Abrams loss included a very unfortunate reporting on what the Democratic Party reliably retains in black male support and what they could be getting nationally if they made the effort to engage and court them. In 2018, while on staff for someone many of you may know – Melissa Sklarz – as a consultant at the Hayes Initiative as she pursued the Assembly – in attending a voter forum here in Harlem – a then campaigning Attorney General James I made a beeline for and asked “ Why “a seat at the table” , a DNC initiative designed to energize black women into the body politick wasn’t extended to black men and really Latin men as well?” – she told me she didn’t know.

    I’ve been dissatisfied with that answer since that time. I’ve been centered on that very prospect since that day – each campaign 7 in all. Every conversation. Every opportunity of engagement. Every candidacy I attached myself to I have positioned myself to engage and capitalize on the engagement most significantly with the personal insight and commonality I share most positively. I organize in NYCHA buildings. I’m from Jamaica, Queens there isn’t a walk list you can generate in NYC I’m scared of.

    This generation is SHOWING a persistent willingness. This is the time to meet the marginalized members of gen z and their elders in the judicial and legislative attacks on their liberty and show interest and establish a line of dialogue earnestly. Not to promise them heaven on earth but to hear where they are and calibrate where it electorally makes sense to meet them that is doable. A few minor tweaks to platform in their interest consciously is the beginning of a rapport DIRECTLY. If you maintain that you duplicate black womens voting block – the ONLY demographic that votes at 95 pct religiously. Stacey revived 84 to Biden’s 55. If democrats got 84 from black men in every state – there goes those close elections. Coupled with gen z – through an open line of dialogue FOR REAL. We never elect another Republican president – as soon as Thomas or Alito pass – a democrat nominates a liberal and we change courses. But securing that is A MUST.

    NYSD IS NOT in any way shape or form poised or capable of establishing a dialogue with either of those groups.

    You and I both know black, male, gay, is not the culture. Also below 35 💅🏿
    This moment requires the ability to navigate seamlessly through the “other” politically as liaison for the Democratic Party that will not be immediately rejected based upon association due to history, perceptions, grievance etc.
    I’ve been a Hillary Clinton loyalist since 1993 – in 2000 I was supporting her candidacy for senate staunchly and boisterously in Jamaica Queens alone – I’m super used to politically engaging politically skeptical minorities. Additionally I have a grandfather that founded one of Queens’ largest AME Zion churches and am a deacon in the Presbyterian church myself. My turnout triage effort would be rolled out at those denominational sites dually from the BX to Montauk. The ame zion church is older than the state party – members of the NY delegation ? Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth. This is absolutely the ideological match in mass to the ideals of the present day party. I’d replicate the same in a Spanish speaking religious community. Additionally, a rapport and active targeting of all PAL’s, youth employment initiatives, planned parenthood’s, ymcas, boys and girls clubs, parks programs, summer day camps – and what I’ve learned on every campaign – informing the recently released incarcerated citizen that they are eligible to rejoin in the vote upon the completion of their term. Every campaign I come across someone on a walk list who is engaged on the issues and informed well – more so than the average voter I engage. Who is reluctant to speak freely with me. Twice this occurred on max rose – I got impatient in being coy and asked outright “ are you apprehensive to discuss electoral activities because you believe they are relinquished due to criminal conviction?” They reluctantly respond affirmatively and I inform them they are eligible to proceed as is once term is completed in NY STATE. 2 voters on Staten Island in one cycle. Imagine how many there are in NYC AND LI who haven’t a clue because we don’t put any money into making that general knowledge. I want to. Have wanted to and still want to and am ready to do it joyfully.

    However, even though the powers that be in NY STATE are willing to hire, entertain and consider me, the training committee of the national party has trained and certified me in communications, and I’ve been doing it for about a decade under this industry’s best and for the cycle that resulted in Biden and evicted Trump —- I remain unused to that result – that produced representative George Santos. For a year now. I’m showing you what I’ve been privately perplexed and frustrated with – what do we do? Because our state party isn’t focused similarly. I can assure you that. At the core of my activism is lessening harm for marginalized persons. Always, that is women, that is ethnic minorities, that is for the developmentally disabled and physically disabled, immigrants- documented or not, sex workers, LGBT+, TRANS, sexual assault survivors of which I am of. I am for the other.

    The level of incompetence, ambivalence & arrogance around electorally organizing for meet this moment that @lindseyboylanny is speaking to AGAIN (I’ve included the link ) is reason for 1) GOP HOUSE of Representatives 2) Hunter Biden laptop show on OUR dimes for 2 years … to no result STILL. 3) impeachment vote for @potus I’m sure takes up bandwidth for the @whitehouse & him personally. 4) antics of @speakermccarthy including hostage negotiations with our economy adding harm to vulnerable populations with SNAP benefits NATIONALLY. 5) whatever budget process yields.

    UNNECESSARY HARM NATIONALLY TO THE MOST VULNERABLE AND TO THE SITTING POTUS. Let’s change that course and trajectory. We have about 17 months. We can’t make NYSD function (I’ve tried) but we can agitate our fellow citizens and youth to active participation from anemic. Michigan is top of the class – 37 pct youth turnout – we are middle of the pack at 20.7. Tennessee – god bless the Justin’s and Gloria Johnson but they have a climb at 12.7 fort relativity. Michigan pretty much excoriated Republican influence from the state entirely. Name of the game is get youth turnout to 37 percent to see democracy and liberty again. I was in 7th grade when 9/11 occurred – watched it from my classroom window in Queens- it’s been hit after hit after but since then. The youth is disillusioned and numb. Engagement has to break through that. Same goes for black men. Mass incarceration – over-policing , a pandemic they worked through and killed then more than anyone else and they still outperformed the country in turnout? Engagement has to overcome that. It can’t be a standard textbook campaign 1 on 1 coffee clutch interaction.

    My name is Kory Gittens and I’m open to suggestions and manifesting a way from this place. Nice to meet you. 💙
  • Olivia Brady Olivia Brady Commented