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October 24, 2012 | Vol. XVII  No. 10           
 
  Find Your Polling Place. Find Your Voice.
Less than two weeks to get out the vote!

 


VOTE HCH projects nationwide have registered thousands of HCH consumers to vote on November 6. This nonpartisan effort to empower individuals experiencing homelessness is inspiring - but not yet over. While registration deadlines have passed in most states, getting out the vote - on Election Day or by early voting where available - is really what this effort is all about. How are you helping consumers and others in your community cast their ballots on Tuesday, November 6?

TAKE ACTION

 

HCH staff and Consumer Advisory Board members are trusted people in the lives of those we serve. Take the time in the next two weeks to talk face to face to HCH consumers about voting and find out their plans. Presume people plan to vote and offer encouragement, support, and empowerment.

 

Mobilizer readers know individuals experiencing homelessness have a harder time voting and may need additional support. Develop a plan and commit resources to get out the vote in your community.

  • Assist consumers in finding their polling places. Make verbal announcements and post flyers about the polling place associated with your project, a shelter, or other likely address of people experiencing homelessness. This is the number one question voters have!
  • Ensure consumers have a plan to vote and have all the necessary documentation.
  • Provide sample ballots and instructions on how to fill them out (in a nonpartisan way, of course). Discuss them in your lobby.
  • Look up early voting and absentee voting possibilities and make sure to include that information in your flyers and discussions.
  • Publicize voting and Election Day at your project. Put up posters, wear buttons, and talk about voting. Remember not to use partisan materials!
  • Identify staff or volunteers that can provide transportation or accompany consumers to the polls.
  • Plan an Election Day celebration! Organize food, activities, or other entertainment to reward and encourage consumers to vote.
  • Call 1 (866) OUR-VOTE if anyone experiences problems at the polls. The line is staffed by pro bono attorneys to assist you.
These ideas and many more can be found in much greater detail on some excellent websites listed below. Regardless of the time or resources you can devote to these efforts, do what you can and make the importance of voting known at your project.
Resources
  • NonprofitVOTE is a one-stop shop for nonprofits looking to promote voting. The extensive list of webinars, fact sheets, and free promotional material is an excellent place to start. Specific state data on early voting, polling places, ballots, and more is available.
  • Vote411 provides even more detail about the rules and stipulations of voting in your community. Just plug in your address.
  • Community Health Vote is a voter registration and engagement site specific to health centers. Thanks to our friends at the National Association of Community Health Centers for putting this together.
  • The You Don't Need a Home to Vote campaign by the National Coalition for the Homeless provides specific information about barriers and considerations for those experiencing homelessness.
  • The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law runs the most extensive site. Please use these resources to ensure the most vulnerable are not disenfranchised.

Small efforts can go a long way to engaging consumers in an important national and local event. Please let us know what worked well for you so we can highlight your success.

Dan Rabbitt, Health Policy Organizer
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
drabbitt@nhchc.org | (443) 703-1337 | www.nhchc.org
 
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