Jason Frederick Lambacher continues Voting Rights and Civic Engagement Project with Snohomish County officials

Jason Frederick Lambacher’s American Government BIS 175 class continued work with Snohomish County government officials on a voting rights and civic engagement project through the Office of Connected Learning.

This Community-Engaged Learning and Research project spends the second half of each course working with Snohomish County officials Annie Cole (Chief DEI officer & HR Policy Advisor) and Matthew Pangburn (Elections Manager). With the help of these mentors (and use of Ari Berman’s book Give Us The Ballot and The Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights Tracker), students work on voting rights projects that highlight changes in selected state election laws that make it more difficult for people to vote, analyze proposed federal responses such as the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and explore reasons why voter turnout tends to be low across the country, with some communities in Washington State, and amongst young people. Students also discuss ways to optimize electoral systems to be more inclusive and increase engagement by young people in civic affairs and politics.

The project started in 2019, with Annie Cole and Matthew Pangburn joining the effort in the fall of 2021. All reveled in an in-person experience of culminating presentations after several years of delivery over Zoom. The project will continue in Winter of 2024 as it gears up for the 2024 national election cycle, which is, gulp, right around the corner. If the election of 2020 is any guide, voter access and public confidence in election integrity will be central to the 2024 campaign. Our class project prepares students to understand the importance of voting rights and the basics of how elections work.