“Your Instagram Protest Photos Aren’t Doing Shit,” Says Oregon Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign

The Bus Project tells young Oregon voters: “Don’t suck this election.”

An antifascist rally on Aug. 4, 2018. (Liz Allan)

An Oregon voter-turnout nonprofit is sassing young voters with an obscenity-laced pep talk that derides online activism.

The Bus Project—a nonprofit that seeks to register young voters and get them engaged in the political process—this weekend released a new ad campaign telling young voters: "Guess what, your protest photos on Instagram aren't doing shit." (The campaign is in heavy rotation… on Instagram.)

"We all get that rich people are screwing us over, the planet is literally melting and the rent is too damn high," Samantha Gladu, The Bus Project's executive director says in the online video. "But if you don't vote next week, you'll be marching and protesting and deleting apps over the next worst thing that's ever happened."

The Bus Project is an independent nonprofit. But its politics are reliably progressive—leading to the common, and not wholly unfounded, perception that it is merely a wing of the Democratic Party of Oregon with a lot of 'tude.

In this case, the video warns against the possible outcomes of Measures 105 and 106, which would roll back the state's sanctuary law and ban state funded abortions, respectively.

"Look," Gladu says, "all you have to do is mark some shit on your ballot. It takes five minutes and you can skip anything you want. Turn in the damn thing. If you don't have a stamp, you can ask an older person for one. They keep them around for christmas cards and shit."

The video ends with the message: "Don't suck this election. Just vote."

The campaign comes amidst current debate over whether young people spend more time performing online activism than actually getting out and voting. Last week, New York magazine published a series of interviews with young people who don't vote.

Yet in Portland, voter turnout is extremely high.

The Seattle Times first reported today that Portland's voter turnout in the past three midterm elections has been second-best in the U.S. An average of 57.4 percent of Portland voters dopped in ballots over the past three midterm elections.

Minneapolis ranked first, with a 59.1 percent voter turnout and Seattle ranked number 4, at 55.8 percent.

Current ballot return numbers suggest Oregonians are in fact getting out and voting. As of Nov. 1, 32 percent of registered voters have turned in ballots. And Democrats are currently out-voting Republicans.

For those Portlanders who are still poring over ballot items before tomorrow's 8 pm voting deadline, here are four short endorsement podcasts to help you familiarize yourself with what's at stake this election.

Because Gladu is right about one thing: Voting is easy in Oregon. Don't suck. Just do it.

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