Energizing Youth and Historically Excluded Communities to Vote in Michigan
March 10, 2023
To: Interested Parties
From: Hilda Nucete, LCVEF Director of Civic Engagement
Date: November 4, 2022
Re: LCVEF & State Affiliates Are Increasing Voter Participation in Historically Excluded Communities
With Election Day just days away, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and state affiliates’ Democracy For All (DFA) program is continuing to increase voter turnout across the country through nonpartisan voter registration efforts and GOTV.
We are also engaged in poll worker recruitment, and are shifting the culture of civic engagement in communities historically excluded from the electoral process, including Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant communities and communities of color who are also disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis.
Democracy For All strives to build a culture around democracy where everyone feels empowered to take part in the civic engagement process. Over the course of the year, our state partners in the Conservation Voter Movement (CVM) have increased civic engagement by working within communities to build voting power and help every person have their voice heard at the ballot box. Our efforts this year have included registering voters, recruiting poll workers, hosting community events (see more below!), closing the voter turnout gap through language and resource access, and inviting the public to participate in visually engaging artivism efforts.
LCVEF’s nonpartisan civic engagement work spans more than a decade, and comes with the recognition that the structural change needed to create a more equitable democracy requires long-term community engagement and work.
When the polls close on Election Day, LCVEF and state partners will have contacted over 1.5 million voters through engaging over 75,000 community members to register and make a plan to vote or pledging to vote, reaching voters through over 1.7 million phone calls, over 220,000 text messages, knocking over 100,000 doors and holding over 230 cultural and educational events. These nonpartisan outreach efforts focus on underrepresented communities where registration and participation levels are historically low. Since 2012, LCVEF and its partners have helped register over 1.6 million voters — see how we’re engaging with voters and communities in 2022 below!
What We’ve Accomplished (So far!)
How We’re Doing It!
Democracy for All’s goal is to make democracy more accessible in more communities so that every eligible voter has access to the ballot box. Across the country, our state partners hosted community events and engaged voters all year to make a plan to vote in the midterm elections. By reaching people in creative, innovative ways where they’re at, we are ensuring that they know the multiple ways to get involved in the electoral process and feel confident in making a plan to vote.
Civic Engagement Week of Action
As a part of Democracy for All’s Civic Engagement Week of Action around National Voter Registration Day, LCVEF and our state partners hosted events across the country featuring interactive art activations, music (including a marching band!), food, activities, and guest speakers to discuss the importance of voter registration efforts and civic engagement in communities historically excluded from the electoral process and how people can get more involved.
LCVEF hosted a community webinar for day three of Civic Engagement Week of Action: Healthy Democracy for a Healthy Environment, where leaders from LCVEF, Environmental Defense Fund, National Resource Defense Council, and Sierra Club discussed how our democracy and the environment are intertwined, how communities of color historically denied the right to vote are the same communities suffering the greatest impacts from environmental injustice, and how the environmental community is encouraging everyone to be more civically engaged this fall.
For our Civic Engagement Week of Action, we teamed up with artist Carmen Pizarra for graphics in both English and Spanish for each day of action like the ones below!
In North Carolina, Power The Vote NC, a project of North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Foundation, engages Black voters and voters of color in communities historically excluded from voter engagement efforts, and regularly hosts community events to involve family members of all ages to participate in our democracy. For Civic Engagement Week of Action, Power The Vote NC/NCLCVF hosted a community block party featuring the Winston-Salem State University Marching Band and an interactive art mural, where community members were invited to add color to a creative art installation.
In Nevada, Chispa Nevada works to close the voter registration gap by helping to remove barriers from language inaccessibility and limited information through public education campaigns and providing voter registration and civic engagement resources in Spanish. To celebrate National Voter Registration Day, Chispa Nevada hosted a community event with an art activation, music, and a screening of “Mi Voto, Mi Comunidad,” in addition discussing the importance of voter registration efforts and civic engagement in communities historically excluded from the electoral process.
In Michigan, Democracy For All Michigan aims to meet voters where they’re at in their communities, focusing on those historically excluded from the electoral process. The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund focused on increasing youth voter turnout by working with high schools and colleges to educate students on the electoral process and empowering them to be civic leaders within their communities. During Civic Engagement Week of Action, they hosted public education events at schools to register students, and well as partnered with the faith community to host a community event with a bounce house, art, and music, encouraging people of all ages to participate in the civic engagement process.
Growing Indigenous Voter Turnout
LCVEF’s state partners work within Indigenous communities to help voters make a plan to vote in Alaska, New Mexico, Utah, Wisconsin, and Washington. See a few highlights from our state partners below!
In Utah, Rural Utah Project’s efforts to map Navajo Nation addresses is helping Navajo Nation residents in San Juan County, UT increase access to critical services and rights including voting, and provides civic engagement resources in Navajo language so community members have more equitable access to their right to vote. Organizers with the Rural Utah Project are also working within their own communities to help voters make a plan to vote through leading voter education trail rides, and registering voters by engaging community members at local powwow events and through hosting outdoor movie screenings.
In Wisconsin, Wisconsin Conservation Voices works to increase voter turnout in Indigenous communities through their Wisconsin Native Vote program by engaging voters through creative and visual methods. Last month, they hosted an event to unveil a mural by Ho-Chunk/Ojibwe artist Christopher Sweet, where speakers encouraged community members to “Sko Vote Den!” and discussed how to make a plan to vote. Organizers with Wisconsin Native Vote are also canvassing their own communities and asking voters to pledge to vote at local powwows and other community events to make sure all communities are able to make their voices heard.
In New Mexico, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund is building on their work with Indigenous communities in Northwestern New Mexico by airing GOTV radio ads in both English and Navajo language. The ads inform communities about their voting rights and push back against rampant disinformation that prevents Indigenous people from having their voices heard.
In Alaska, The Alaska Center Education Fund’s Summer Fellows Program provides a paid leadership opportunity for young Alaskans passionate about creating positive change in our state. To ensure leaders are representative of the communities they serve, our Fellows worked to educate and engage young people, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, immigrants, and first-time voters about Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system. Our Youth Fellows hosted fun and engaging educational events, including a “Drag Out the Vote” Ranked-Choice Voting Drag show where voters ranked drag performances. The Alaska Center Education Fund also called thousands of Alaskans across the state to talk about when, where, and how to vote. Alaska’s primary election had a historical turnout, and The Alaska Center Education Fund team is working to ensure Alaskans bring that same energy to the General Election.
Poll Worker Recruitment
Poll workers play a critical role to safeguard our elections and ensure the right to secure, fair, and accurate voting. Ensuring that polling locations are equipped with tech savvy, multi-lingual, and culturally fluent poll workers is crucial for free and fair elections. Amid the shortage of poll workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, rampant disinformation around the electoral process, and relentless attacks on voting rights since the 2020 election, LCVEF and our state partners across the country are recruiting community members to serve as poll workers.
For Poll Worker Recruitment Day, our blog featured the voices of two poll workers in the CVM who have joined the hundreds of thousands of people across the country that stepped up to take on one of the most critical roles in the electoral process.
In Florida, the highlight of these efforts was our September poll worker recruitment campaign. Seeing the concerning shortage of election workers in South Florida with the October sign-up deadline approaching, the DFA Florida team hosted phone banks to help fill gaps in capacity. Over the course of four days, the Florida Democracy for All team made 60,925 total calls to Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County community members asking them about getting involved. Through their work, they were able to identify 290 Floridians that had an interest in poll working, helping to close the recruitment gap in the final weeks before the election.
Our state partners aren’t done yet! Chispa is leveraging digital strategies to fight disinformation, inform voters, and encourage communities to make a plan to vote. Chispa is currently running ads for GOTV to reach Latinx voters including Spanish-language radio and social media ads in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida and Maryland. In addition, Chispa is sharing voting resources so voters and trusted messengers know where to go, what to do, and can combat election disinformation through their Spanish-language voter tool.
Over the next several days, our teams will continue to knock on doors, call and text voters, in addition to reaching voters through art in their communities with a community- and artist-led nonpartisan Get Out the Vote effort across the country to increase voter turnout in areas systemically facing barriers to the ballot box.
LCVEF is investing nearly a million dollars in innovative nonpartisan visibility efforts including bus stop signs, yard signs, chalkings, murals, open source digital art, and public interactive art events, which will take place across the country Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin ahead of the midterm elections. See a sneak peek at some of our events from last week and see more to come below!
In Las Vegas, Nevada, Chispa Nevada hosted a GOTV “trunk or treat” event where families were invited to participate in a family-friendly fall event where voters could make a plan to vote, featuring an interactive art installation, music, food, and a pumpkin wall with spooky-themed reminders to vote.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Power The Vote NC worked with muralist artist @miztarious to create a mural inspiring community members to remember that “Our Vote is Power”.
In Syracuse, New York, the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund hosted Our Vote Is Our Power, an all-day art event to educate the public about voting and environmental issues. The event took place at the McCarthy Mercantile – Syracuse’s indie underground shopping destination – and featured two local artists, Eugene Stetz and Cayetano Valenzuela, who painted murals inspired by democracy and the environment. See a timelapse from one of the artists on Stetz’s Instagram page and more photos from the event on NYLCV’s Twitter.
Upcoming GOTV Events Across the Country:
In Miami, Florida, Florida Conservation Voters Education Fund is engaging young voters through their Democracy For All FL program and Democracy For Youth DeFY Curriculum and is hosting a GOTV event to “Dance to the Polls,” where DFA-FL will help community members make a plan to vote with music and dancing, a photo booth, and an interactive art installation. DFA-FL aims to provide exposure and education to youth on the democratic process geared towards ages 18 and younger, especially in historically disenfranchised communities, in order to increase civic engagement when they are eligible to vote.
In Detroit, Michigan, Democracy for All Michigan is hosting an GOTV event to “Roll to the Polls” at a community center with music and an interactive art installation.
In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, PowerThe Vote NC/ NCLCV Foundation are hosting a GOTV event with music, food, prizes, in addition to an interactive art installation, a wishing tree where community members can add their hopes for democracy, and a guest performance by Reggie Buie Jazz group, DJ Energizer, and guest speakers Linda Sutton, Montravias King and Kerry Wiggins.
In Allentown, Pennsylvania, DFA PennFuture is the largest voter registration organization in the Lehigh Valley, and is hosting a GOTV event focused in the Latino community to highlight “The Art of Community Action,” with food trucks, family activities, an interactive art installation, as well as face painters. DFA PennFuture is improving access to and trust in our democracy, so communities traditionally left out of the decision making process can reclaim their rightful influence.