Today is Election Day! While some people have just started preparing for the election during the past week, DenUM has been involved in voter engagement activities for months. We have registered clients to vote at DenUM and at the St. Francis Center. We also asked clients to fill out pledge cards. Once they filled out these pledge cards, they got a call reminding them to vote before Election Day. We also created and distributed a Ballot Guide that explains the amendments and proposals on this year’s ballot in accessible and non-partisan language. We collaborated with the Community Resource Center’s Participation Project and the St. Francis.
We have had immense success in our voter engagement projects so far. We have registered multiple people to vote and have collected over 500 completed pledge cards! We have also distributed dozens of Ballot Guides. For Election Day, we will have a table filled with resources that explain where and how to vote in our lobby. We will also have decorations and treats to hand out to clients and volunteers to celebrate folks who have already voted or who have pledged to vote. We will ask every person who comes into our building whether or not they have already voted. If they have not yet, we will help them develop a plan of when and how they will vote.
Our clients have oftentimes been very grateful for our voting resources. Multiple clients who have criminal backgrounds and who have served their sentences did not realize they were eligible to vote until our staff explained they could and helped them register. Another client was ecstatic about our Ballot Guide and said it was just what she needed. She told me that she planned on taking it home to share with her teenage daughter who had just become old enough to vote to help get her excited about the election. Yesterday a DenUM staff member asked a client if she had voted and she responded not only that she had, but that she had registered to vote at DenUM a couple of months earlier! Thanks to DenUM, many of our clients now have the tools to get involved in the election.
Asking our clients about whether or not they have voted is critical because oftentimes our clients come from backgrounds and life circumstances that create barriers to voting. Not only that, but we may be the only people asking them to vote. Voting in the United States comes with unnecessary hurdles; whether those hurdles are having access to an ID, having transportation to get to the polling locations, understanding the ballot directions and what is on the ballot, being homeless, or having a criminal background and being unclear of whether or not you even can vote. Part of DenUM’s mission is to provide others with the tools to be self-sufficient and to use advocacy to strengthen the community. By helping our people vote, we are providing others with the opportunity to advocate for their needs and to help make their communities better. By sharing information with each other and asking everyone we interact with to vote, we can assure that everyone in our community has a voice in a very high-stakes election. Voting matters and DenUM encourages all of our community members to get out and vote this Election Day!
If you still need to vote but aren’t sure where to go, check out Just Vote Colorado!