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November 27, 2020 – July 5, 2021

Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project

Following an election year like no other, Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project is an exploration of the power of self-government, engaging visitors in experiences that encourage them to take action now to create the change they want to see. Shaped by the evolving story of democracy in our region, and drawing on MOHAI’s extensive collection of historic artifacts, images, and oral histories, Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project highlights how direct participation sustains, expands, and reimagines a government of, by, and for the people. The exhibit includes rare artifacts from Seattle’s history of democracy, personal stories of democracy in action, and interactive experiences that put the power of democracy directly in the hands of visitors.

Presented by The Boeing Company. Additional generous support provided by Laird Norton Wealth Management, Maureen Frisch, The Estate of Patricia Denny, Office of Arts and Culture (Seattle), 4Culture, RealNetworks Foundation, and MOHAI Exhibits Fund.

Media support provided by KCTS9 and Crosscut

Special thanks to the following Stand Up Seattle community partners: Black Heritage Society of Washington StateConverge Media, and University of Washington Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest.

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Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project will feature a companion set of programs, panel discussions, workshops, and online features that explore the roots of democracy in our region and the state of democracy today.

From the Exhibit

Enjoy this collection of images captured at the Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project exhibit, an exploration of the power of self-government, engaging visitors in experiences that encourage them to take action now to create the change they want to see.

Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project includes rare artifacts from Seattle’s history of democracy, personal stories of democracy in action, and interactive experiences that put the power of democracy directly in your hands.

Find the tools you need to participate in our democratic process and explore ways to affect the changes you want to see.

Throughout this exhibit, visitors find resources to help them take action through voting, impacting what’s on the ballot, and mobilizing around shared ideas.

There is no single right way to participate in our democracy, and you can participate in different ways, at different times.

Today, our democracy is evolving and contested. Making a change in our political system may feel unreachable and overwhelming. But every day is a day we shape history.

Stand Up Seattle includes a look into Washington’s journey to statehood and over the following 130 years, highlighting key moments in our region’s history.

Learn how participation in democracy takes different forms, including doing your research on issues, signing petitions, protesting, or running for office. Each of these actions can make a difference.

Explore inspirational stories of how others in our community have impacted Washington State’s democracy.

Discover how events and actions illustrate resistance, bold thought, and civic activism across Washington state.

Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project highlights how direct participation sustains, expands, and reimagines a government of, by, and for the people.

Power of the Vote

Voting is key to a functioning democracy. Even if you are not eligible to vote, or you choose not to, you still have the power to impact voting. The right to vote has not come easily for all. In some cases, voting has been actively suppressed, and it continues to be hotly contested.

Register to Vote

Help shape Washington’s future.

Register to vote online: VoteWA.

Register in person at these locations:

  • King County Administration Building, 500 4th Avenue, Room 440, Seattle, WA
  • King County Elections, 919 SW Grady Way, Renton, WA

Hours: 8:30–4:30 (closed 1-2 pm), Monday through Friday

The city provides assistance: Visit a King County Vote center, online or in person, to get assistance with registration—even registration on election day—and updating current voter records. Centers can assist voters who need help completing their ballots. Trained staff and specialized equipment are available to help voters with disabilities cast a private, independent ballot. Vote centers are available starting 30 days prior to election day.

Access printable voter registration forms: You can find Washington voter registration forms in 23 different languages here. Then follow the provided instructions to turn it in.

Help Others Vote

Not everyone has access to voter registration or ballots.

Luckily, local and national organizations work to bridge the gaps. But they need help from someone exactly like you (yes, you), who cares about people having equal opportunities to vote.

Check out one of the organizations below to help:

The Washington Bus works to get young people registered, informed, and voting: washingtonbus.org

Common Power mobilizes volunteers for voting across Washington, and around the country: commonpower.org

League of Women Voters works to ensure elections remain free, fair, and accessible: lwv.org

Know Your District

Not sure of your congressional district or who represents it?

Find your Washington state legislative or congressional district here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

Understand The Electoral College

Why does the Electoral College vote matter more than the popular vote?

Learn the basics of how the Electoral College works with this video from USA Today: Watch now

Dive into the debate over dismantling the Electoral College: This article from the National Conference of State Legislatures offers an overview of the topic.

If dismantling the Electoral College resonates with you, consider volunteering for a group trying to do so: National Popular Vote is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working on these issues.

Check to see if you’re qualified to become an elector for a political party: This National Archives article explains the necessary qualifications to be an elector and how electors are chosen.

Impact the Ballot

Getting involved can take many forms-it doesn’t only mean running for office. Who and what makes it to the ballot influences daily, local life. Regional ballot measures can even enact laws that contrast federal laws.

Organize, Mobilize, Resist

Democracy is imperfect. People organize, lobby, and show resistance to push for what they need from elected representatives. Dissent and accountability are essential to democracy’s very function.

Special Thanks

Many thanks to all the individuals who advised and participated in the development of the Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project exhibit.

Contributing Content Advisors

  • Amy Bhatt, PhD, Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Hasaan A. Kirkland, MFA, O’Herron Endowed Distinguished Professor of Fine Art, Curator, Artist, Kairos Industry LLC, Seattle Central College, Seattle University
  • Joshua L. Reid (Snohomish), PhD, John Calhoun Smith Memorial Endowed Professor of History, University of Washington Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest
  • Lorraine McConaghy, PhD, MOHAI Public Historian Emeritus

Special Thanks

  • Amber Taylor and Lisa Pemberton, Puyallup Tribe of Indians
  • Cynthia Brothers
  • Estela Ortega and Dulce Gutierrez Vasquez, El Centro de la Raza
  • James Gregory, University of Washington
  • Jennifer Ott, Assistant Director, HistoryLink.org
  • Jessica Garcia
  • John Lamont, Seattle Public Library
  • Karen Besserman, Emerge WA
  • Kyle Thiessan, Office of the Code Reviser, Washington State Legislature
  • Lourdez Velasco
  • Makah Resource & Cultural Center
  • Maru Mora Villalpando and Andrea Marcos, La Resistencia
  • Meredith Sibley and Andrea Caupain, Byrd Barr Place
  • MOHAI Youth Advisors: Annabelle, Atul, Ethan, India, Jason, Julia, Karl, Soren, Sue, TK, Vance, and Ziah
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
  • Nikkita Oliver
  • Omari Salisbury, Converge Media
  • Paulina Lopez, Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition
  • Rebeccah Maskin, King County Office of Performance Strategy and Budget
  • Reverend Harriett Walden, Mothers for Police Accountability
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Sierra Club and Fuse Washington
  • Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, Black Heritage Society of Washington State
  • Suquamish Museum
  • Tim Eyman for Governor campaign
  • Timothy Harris
  • TraeAnna Holiday, Africatown Community Land Trust
  • Washington State Archives
  • Washington State Library
  • Willard Bill, Jr. and Justice Bill
  • Zack Silk

Community partners

  • Black Heritage Society of Washington State
  • Converge Media
  • University of Washington Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest

Exhibit Supporters at MOHAI

Presented by
Additional generous support provided by
Maureen Frisch
MOHAI Exhibits Fund
The Estate of Patricia Denny
Media support provided by

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