On Monday, November 5, HAP kicked off efforts to increase voter engagement across the Twin Cities, especially among immigrant and refugee communities. Members in these communities are frequently dissuaded from voting due to language barriers, limited transportation, and impediments to voter registration.
“Nonprofit organizations have relationships with many disengaged citizens, and we have the unique ability to persuade them to vote,” HAP CEO Bao Vang remarked. She noted that the 2000 Presidential election in Minnesota was decided by less than 6,000 votes, a narrow margin that can partially be attributed to low voter turnout.
Working together for greater inclusion
HAP has partnered with Minnesota Voice, a member of the national network State Voices, to maximize voter outreach during this year’s mid-term elections. Minnesota Voice is “a coalition of organizations working toward permanent social, racial, and economic justice by increasing civic engagement and voter participation across the state,” according to the State Voices’ website. The coalition works to ensure that “every Minnesotans’ voice is heard and the state reflects the values of its citizens.”
HAP and Minnesota Voice are operating a phone bank at HAP’s Arcade Street office on November 5 and 6. Staff and volunteers will provide residents with instructions on where to vote, arrange interpretation and transportation services as needed, inform residents about issues and candidates, and answer residents’ questions about the voting process.
The two organizations are also driving residents to the polls, carrying out door-to-door canvassing in neighborhoods with low turnout, providing Hmong interpretation services at polling places, and stationing election protection teams at polls to prevent voters from being disenfranchised. In cases where voters are wrongly rejected, HAP and Minnesota Voice will dispatch a legal team to ensure that voting rights are upheld.
Asked why HAP is so invested in “Get Out the Vote” efforts, Bao offered four succinct reasons: (1) Increasing voter turnout makes democracy work, (2) It ensures that the people HAP works with every day will have a say in who will represent them, (3) It gives HAP a chance to talk with people about the issues, and (4) It ensures that our elected officials truly represent us.
Ensure that your interests are represented this election – go vote!
To learn more about registration, check your registration status, find your polling place, or receive a list of candidates for your area, visit https://wevotemnguide.org/.
Visit www.wevotemn.org to learn more about “Get Out the Vote” efforts in Minnesota.