"For Progressive Maryland and its parent Peoples' Action, our low and middle income neighbors are our primary constituents. We need to make an effort to bring these groups into the political process and to help them advocate for themselves," Howard County activist Dave Bazell reminds us.
/By Dave Bazell/ If you are reading this you are probably registered to vote. If you are not registered, register online immediately!
Being registered to vote is one of the most basic elements of civic engagement. Yet, according the US Census Bureau, less than 50% of individuals with incomes below $20,000 were registered to vote in the 2014 election, and only 26% of them voted. That should be compared to people with incomes above $100,000, 75% of whom were registered and 53% of whom voted (US Census Bureau, July 2015.)
We can make a significant positive impact in the area of civic engagement by targeting people in low income neighborhoods and registering them to vote. If you are not specifically targeting unregistered individuals you will certainly encounter people who are already register to vote. Getting registered individuals to sign a voter pledge card is a proven way to increase turnout in any election. People sign a pledge to vote in the next election, indicate the main reason they will be voting, and turn in the card. We can then mail them the card shortly before the election to remind them to vote.
In Howard County we are ramping up just such a voter registration drive. We plan to ask other organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the NAACP to join us in this effort. In the meantime we are targeting low-income neighborhoods and going door-knocking to register people. Our plan is to revisit these neighborhoods in a few weeks to talk to people about issues in more detail, to hand out literature, and to recruit people to join Progressive HoCo.
For Progressive Maryland and its parent Peoples' Action, our low and middle income neighbors are our primary constituents. We need to make an effort to bring these groups into the political process and to help them advocate for themselves.
If you are interested in helping with voter registration in Howard County, volunteer at http://www.progressiveHoCo.org/volunteer . We will be registering voters and canvassing in specific neighborhoods in the coming weeks and this requires people.
By volunteering you can make a difference in the community. Stay Involved!
Dave Bazell is an activist in Progressive Howard County.