All posts in Civic Engagement
A new survey conducted by the Penn Schoen Berland National Post-Election poll reveals that the majority of Americans would like to see national standards for how people vote, including what hours polls are open, who is eligible to vote, and the type of ballot used. MacArthur Foundation President Robert Gallucci makes the point: “On the heels of an election that required some Americans to endure a long line to cast their vote and others to face confusing new requirements, the message from this poll is clear. Our democracy and our electorate deserve better rules and procedures for efficiently administering federal elections.” (more…)
Poll results say this election is too close to call and results will not come in for several more hours… but, we are already winning.
Groups from around the Bay have for months now been engaged in deep coordinated voter engagement work, from creating voter guides to forming paid and volunteer phone bank and field teams, reaching tens of thousands Oakland and San Francisco residents. [more on Oakland Rising and San Francisco Rising]
Because of this, we are already winning …
And, for that, we thank those individuals who hold the participation of those around them to be as important as their own.
We thank those organizations that are, to their communities, the place to learn and come together, that work to transform people’s own relationship to the governance of their communities and society, that center those on the margins.
The fight against voter suppression and harassment became personal this past Tuesday, when my niece, a 19 year old college student in North Carolina, was challenged at her polling site by a “very nasty” electioneer – NOT an official poll worker but an “observer” – who demanded to know if she was old enough to vote, and then handed my niece a slate of opposition candidates. Knowing her rights, my niece held to the Aries fire that she shares with her grandmother and rebuffed the “poll monitor,” proudly casting her first vote in a presidential election.
Another victory against voter suppression was won last week in Ohio and Wisconsin as voting rights groups, including our grant partners, The Lawyers’ Committee and ColorofChange.org pushed communications conglomerate, Clear Channel to remove over 100 billboards in mostly Black and Latino neighborhoods which they say were designed to intimidate voters. The billboards read “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!” and warned that it can lead to prison sentences of up to three and a half years and a $10,000 fine. As ColorofChange.org points out: “In no small part because voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, the billboards were widely viewed as an effort to intimidate minority voters who are uncertain about their rights from voting.”
“Here’s our basic idea: we can crowdsource democracy. Let anyone in the country create a voter guide and promote it through Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. Then we’ll compile these thoughts into user-friendly formats so anyone can see what their friends and neighbors think about the stuff they’ll be voting on.” - Matt Singer and Scott Duncombe, http://news.theballot.org/
As a relatively new California voter, I’m overwhelmed by the various candidate races and ballot initiatives that I’ll have to vote on come Nov. 6th. Voting in NY was nothing like this. Voter guides – printed or online guides usually offering basic information or strong opinions on races and/ or propositions produced by a single organization or entity – are one immensely helpful way of navigating the many choices at the polls. (more…)
“IN THE SPIRIT” AWARDS TO BE PRESENTED
TO COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTORS IN DIVERSE GENRES
Recognizing the Gifted & Giving During 2nd Annual Celebration
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 ~ Scottish Rite Auditorium, Oakland, CA
Oakland-based organization In The Spirit will host its second annual awards celebration in honor of civic, community, academic, entertainment, healthcare, media, ministerial and sports leaders who work, reside in, or are otherwise associated with the San Francisco Bay Area. We want to congratulate Ms. Jacqueline Rushing, Founder and Executive Director of the Young Scholars Program, a College Bound Brotherhood grant partner organization, as she will be recognized at this year’s ceremony for her leadership and commitment to youth excellence. (more…)
This past week in New York the Open Society Foundation hosted its Innovation & Impact Forum for Black Male Achievement, “What Winning Looks Like: Investing in What Works”. This one-day convening took a deep DIVE into the state of black male achievement and its future, and was organized by the hard-working folks at OSF’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement.
The morning kicked off with Mayor Michael Bloomberg taking the stage and candidly expressing why the city of New York was deepening its investment in black male achievement as well as why he was making a personal investment of $30 million (via Bloomberg Philanthropies) in this campaign.
Following Mayor Bloomberg was a panel discussion, which included George Soros, founder of Open Society Foundations; Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone; Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment; and Alexis McGill Johnson, Executive Director of American Values Institute. The panelists engaged in a rich dialogue on why this particular issue resonated with them and what they considered as the next steps to improve the outcomes for black males.
We’re in the midst of making some major changes to the Kapor Foundation’s approach to social impact work, as I alluded to in a July 17th post. Last week we shared an update with our current grant partners that may be useful for others to know:
“The purpose of this email is to update you on our evolving strategy to meet our mission, which has not changed: ‘We support organizations that provoke social change in communities of color en route to equality.’
For the past five years, the Kapor Foundation has worked to support critical work that affects communities of color both nationally and here in the Bay Area. At the beginning of 2012, we shared our interest in learning more about how info tech can be mobilized in pursuit of positive social impacts. With the ever-growing presence of info tech in our everyday lives, we strongly believe that CBOs must harness technology to more effectively achieve their missions.
About a week ago, our grant partner, the Advancement Project released a concerning report, revealing that about 10 million Latino voters could be disenfranchised in the upcoming election due to voting legislation passed in more than 20 states. Detailed in Segregating American Citizenship: Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012 are the different types of voter suppression laws and policies that are creating barriers for Latinos to vote, including:
- Alleged noncitizen voter purges of registered voters (in 16 states), which target naturalized citizens and may violate equal protection guarantees.
- Proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration (in effect in Georgia, and pending in Alabama and Arizona), which impose onerous and sometimes expensive documentation requirements on prospective voter registrants. These laws target naturalized citizens, many of whom are Latino.
- Restrictive photo ID laws in 9 states, which similarly impose costs in time and money for millions of Latino citizens who do not have the required documents.
Voter participation – making sure that everyone who is eligible CAN and DOES vote, and that those votes count – is a longstanding pillar belief of the Kapor Foundation. Since 2007, we’ve invested nearly $4 million in organizations working actively with communities to stimulate voter engagement, participation in elections, and protection of legal and physical access to the polls.
We’re excited to share resources to help individuals to register, ensure that they have the right forms of required identification, find polling places, and contact in case of problems at the polls.
It’s critical that potential voters receive accurate and up-to-date information. Most of these organizations are/have been our grant partners, so we can vouch for them. Be sure to encourage others to use resources that come from credible sources! Double check!
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – OUR VOTE!
National Voter Registration Day
CA Secretary of State – Register to Vote Online!
Ella Baker Center – California Voter Guide
NOTE: RegisterToVote.org has been designated as a fradulent site!!