This blog post is part of a series sharing voter registration and civic engagement tips and ideas from health center advocates. If your health center is offering voter registration or civic engagement and you would like to write a guest blog post, email your post to CHCVote@nachc.org.
Guest blog post by Sandra Greear with Cherokee Health Systems, located in Knoxville, Tennessee
Making Voter Engagement Visible at Our Health Center
It was exciting to give members of our community the opportunity to get involved in choosing the people who make decisions that impact their lives and the lives of their family. The Community Health Vote materials provided by NACHC gave us the simplified tools to educate our patients about how to register to vote, how to restore their voting rights, how to get information for special circumstances and inform them about the Voter ID Law. In one office alone at least 300 copies of each form, and even more voter registration forms, were picked up. Some registration forms were given to us to mail to the local Election Commission (which we happily and promptly did!) while others were taken home and distributed to family and friends. We also provided local information for citizens without a government-issued photo ID: service locations for obtaining an ID, what documents they needed to take with them and a copy of the required affidavit to sign and present.
In various places throughout our health center as well as in our employee newsletter, signs were posted using NACHC’s powerful statements to motivate and inspire registration and voting: “If you don’t vote, you give someone else the power to affect your life and the lives of your family”, and “Your vote is your voice in what happens in this country and the only person who can silence your voice is you.” A number of the Commit to Vote forms said, “I’m going to vote because it’s my right!” Their statements were charged with conviction.
As registration deadlines passed, we traded out voter registration information for maps, addresses and hours for early voting. When early voting ended, signs were posted for “Vote on November 6!”, and then, “Vote Today!” I don’t know how many of the forms taken home were completed and mailed or how many of our staff and patients voted, however, I do believe we informed, motivated and provided ample opportunity for patients and staff to get involved in the democratic process… and that is rewarding. Thank you, NACHC, for all the wonderful materials we needed but did not have time to create!