Secure voting rights and fair government representation are essential to democracy. Yet individuals in underrepresented communities, especially Black and other communities of color, often lack registration, motivation, and/or representation. Many are not registered to vote in the first place, and even when they are, it is common for them not to complete the next steps in the process by participating in the voting process. There are several challenges that we know tend to hold them back, including:
- Undereducation on the importance of voting
- Lack of a clear understanding of issues or the candidates
- Issues in the ballot process, language, and accessibility
Many in our community have never voted and are embarrassed to let anyone know. That means they are unlikely to ask for help when they can’t find and/or don’t know where to get basic information. They lack trusted sources, and many do not have access to technology due to the well-documented digital divide.
Further, upon analysis of election results of the decade between 2010 and 2020, you will find that the participation rate increases or decreases based on whether it is a local, state, or federal election. Federal-level elections tend to have the highest turnout, but local and state elections can have a more direct impact on the lives of the voters. We must find a way to engage them in all of the elections.
We also see major issues in the ability for people to vote and/or have their votes counted. With a transient population in several areas, we often find that people move without updating their address. That leads to inaccuracies and confusion. People in these situations often show up to vote, only to find that their records have been purged, They also easily get disenfranchised because they are attempting to vote at the wrong location. This would make them provisional voters, which means that their ballot may not be counted. We seek to address all of these issues!