On National Voter Registration Day, September 27th, 2016, volunteers and organizers from across the country will unite in a coordinated, one-day effort to register voters before the November elections. This year, Forefront has partnered with Nonprofit VOTE, a national nonprofit, non-partisan group dedicated to promoting civic engagement, to dramatically increase voter registration in Illinois. The goal: to work in conjunction with eight Illinois nonprofits to reach disenfranchised communities whose voices are often underrepresented in our electoral process.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be highlighting the efforts of our Illinois Nonprofit VOTE partners to reach and register members of the communities they serve, and their plans for National Voter Registration Day.
This week we spoke with YWCA Lake County. In keeping with the mission of YWCA USA, YWCA Lake County works to empower women and eliminate racism. They were selected to be one of Forefront’s eight state partners for Nonprofit VOTE and National Voter Registration Day.
Why did your organization decide to get involved with Nonprofit VOTE?
Voter engagement efforts support our mission of empowering women and advancing racial justice by reaching and educating low-propensity voters.
How does a program like Nonprofit VOTE fit within the mission of your organization?
YWCA Lake County is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Simply put, none of these ideals are possible without civic engagement.
Could you tell us about the population you serve and what civic engagement looks like for them?
We mainly serve low-to-middle-income families throughout Lake County, as well as childcare providers. While most eligible Lake County adults are registered to vote, the national media saturation from this year’s presidential election has impacted voter engagement. We have learned that simple reminders (to vote) to those we serve, assist with increasing voter engagement.
Why is it important for the demographic you serve to register to vote?
It strengthens our communities and encourages marginalized groups to be actively engaged in decisions that directly affect their families.
Overall, how many new voters would you like to register/how many voter pledges would you like to get?
125 registrations. 250 pledge cards.
On National Voter Registration Day, how many new voters/pledges would you like to get?
50 new voters/75 pledge cards
What will you be doing on September 27/National Voter Registration Day to register voters?
We are planning a voter’s registration day event, decorating the front office, having a registration table to promote the importance of voting, and a trivia game to test civic engagement knowledge with candy and prizes.
What can readers do to get involved/support the effort?
National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 27th. The Presidential Election is Tuesday, November 8th. Are YOU registered to vote? Find out your registration status and more by visiting the Forefront Nonprofit VOTE online headquarters.
Want to get involved? We have volunteer opportunities across the entire state of Illinois and a ton of National Voter Registration Day events you can attend on September 27th. Give us a call (312-327-8912), send us an email, or drop by the Forefront office (208 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1540, Chicago, Illinois, 60604), and we’ll connect you to a volunteer opportunity in your neighborhood and/or event in your neighborhood!