With the midterm elections in less than two weeks, organizations and individuals have been ramping up initiatives around voter registration and education. The team at Broad Street Ministry (BSM) has been running its civic engagement initiative since 2019, which serves to help people experiencing poverty and homelessness — including LGBTQ people and people of color — register to vote and learn about the candidates on the ballot. While 2022 voter registration has ended, BSM continues the voter education component of its program.
“Our civic engagement specialists are going to be taking the ballot questions that I provided them, talking those through with anyone that has questions, and also going over any of the candidates and their platforms for anyone who wants to know what they are running for,” said Sam Philips, civic engagement ambassador for BSM.
It is crucial that the communities served by BSM be educated about the issues that are on the ballot, Philips said, “largely because a lot of these policies that the folks that are going to be elected will develop are going to impact [marginalized people] directly. Because a lot of the folks that we serve do not have access to many services, we really want to provide them with a voice to say what they believe and really fight for policies and politicians that they believe will best advance them and their status in society.”
One of the biggest barriers to voting for BSM’s clientele is not having a permanent address to register to vote. As such, those without an address have been able to use BSM’s address to register to vote. The organization has roughly 4,200 registered mailboxes. “Because of that, we do have the highest number of registered voters to any single address in the entire state,” Philips said.
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