Vote for a Change! 2012

Senait Brown is a Community Organizer with Solid Ground’s Statewide Poverty Action Network.

Poverty Action Members register new voters!

Poverty Action Members register new voters!

In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to increase the number of citizens registered to vote in Federal elections by requiring voter registration with every driver’s license application and renewal. An equally important but less well-known provision of the NVRA is the requirement that states offer voter registration opportunities to clients and applicants of public assistance programs like Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid and Food Stamps.

Solid Ground is a direct service, anti-poverty organization and as such, we are in a unique position to increase voter registration rates in King County’s low-income communities and communities of color. And through Poverty Action’s Vote for a Change! campaign, YOU have many opportunities to get involved.

Every two years, Poverty Action sends a candidate questionnaire to all candidates running for office in Washington State and publishes their responses in this useful Voter Guide. Share this guide widely with your family and friends!

We also need volunteers to register citizens to vote, inform people of their voting rights and help make sure everyone’s voice is heard in the upcoming elections! While our official Vote for a Change! Campaign Kick Off is Thursday, August 16, voter registration opportunities in low-income communities and communities of color are coming up this weekend. Here’s the current schedule: 

  • August 4 & 5: Umojafest Voter Registration Drive, Judkins Park
    (2150 S Norman St, Seattle, WA 98144), 11am-7pm
  • August 16: Vote for a Change! Campaign Kick Off, Solid Ground in Wallingford
    (1501 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103), 5:30pm
  • August 17-19: Hempfest Voter Registration Drive, Myrtle Edwards Park
    (3130 Alaskan Way W, Seattle, WA 98121), 10-8pm (Fri) /12-8pm (Sat/Sun)

Is your voter registration outdated? If yes, you can register online. The voter registration deadline for the General Election is October 8, so register right away!

For more information, to volunteer, or to otherwise support the Vote for a Change! campaign, please contact Senait Brown at senait@povertyaction.org or call 206.694.6794. And for more information about Poverty Action’s work, visit our beautiful new website at povertyaction.org.

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Huge Success at 2011 Hempfest Voter Registration Drive!

Volunteer Juan Vega & the Washington Bus' Vote Bot registering voters

This past weekend, Solid Ground’s Statewide Poverty Action Network – in partnership with Seattle Hempfest – registered over 1,100 new voters! We made a significant impact in changing what voting power looks like in Washington State as part of our outreach and Vote for a Change Campaign, which focuses on voter registration, education and vote participation in low-income communities and communities of color.

An essential part of our outreach is to educate communities about the 2009 Voter Restoration Act, which Poverty Action was instrumental in passing. The Voter Restoration Act restores the right to vote for 400,000 previously incarcerated persons, who are also disproportionately people of color.

Before this law passed, previously incarcerated people were required to pay all legal financial obligations to restore their voting rights. This barrier particularly impacted people living on low incomes. Now, you can vote as soon as you are no longer under the Department of Correction’s supervision.

Of our 1,100 newly registered voters, at least 50% were previously incarcerated persons. This was a great accomplishment, and we will continue to do this imperative outreach so that people of color and people living on low incomes will no longer be marginalized from the political process.

A volunteer shared, “People who had been denied the right to vote, some for over 10 years, were so empowered and excited when they registered, I wanted to cry.”

Special thanks to Juan Vega, a Poverty Action Board member, whose life passion is to address race and class inequalities through empowering previously incarcerated persons. Juan was instrumental in organizing a beautiful weekend of sun, food, fun and anti-poverty movement building!

We had over 60 volunteers with us throughout the weekend, registering and engaging with people about how we can tackle the root causes of poverty with our voting power! Among our volunteers were Cheryl Cobbs Murphy, Executive Director of Solid Ground, members of Equal Rights Washington and Washington Bus, Poverty Action Board members and dedicated volunteers. Thanks to all of our amazing members and volunteers, we were able to increase the voting power of low-income communities and communities of color!

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