This past Wednesday, the Kapor Foundation hosted “The Word on Election R.A.P.: Why It Matters and How We Can Engage,” a briefing about the importance of election reform, administration, and protection (RAP) issues on low-income communities of color in California.
Held at the Public Policy Institute of California, the event included the perspectives of leaders from community-based organizing, civil rights and “good government” groups, as well as elections administration officials. Panelists and moderators included:
Roger Kim, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Efrain Escobedo, Executive Liason of the Los Angeles County Registrar- Recorder
Jessamyn Sabbag, Field Director of Oakland Rising
Kathay Feng, Executive Director of Common Cause
Alicia Garza, Executive Director of POWER
Edward Hailes, Jr., General Counsel/ Managing Director of Advancement Project
Eric Marshall, Manager of Legal Mobilization of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change
In attendance were many of our Bay Area-based civic engagement grant recipients, including representatives from most of Oakland Rising and San Francisco Rising member groups, as well as several of our funder colleagues and friends.
In total, about 40 participants came together to define and discuss the landscape of how elections are run, the barriers that exist which prevent communities of color from voting, as well as, the possibilities and needs of these communities to oversee, shape, and provide leadership on the election process.
The convening came at a time when organizations are preparing for the 2012 elections, one which could see mass disenfranchisement of low-income voters of color nationally. Participants discussed and shared how communities of color can counter disenfranchising state legislation by mobilizing to “take back the vote”, making sure that their voices are being heard and needs are being met by election officials.
We would like to thank all who attended for a day of insight, sharing, and inspiration. For highlights, please check some of our Twitter comments below:
Summer N. Jackson:
RT @MKaporFdn: In E. Oakland, 80yr old has polling place in her garage. Ex. of people owning elections @OaklandRising #ElectionRAP
Summer N. Jackson:
RT @MKaporFdn: If we’re not taking care of the how and where of elections administration, this effects the ‘who’. @eescobedobg #ElectionRap
“Your vote is your voice. Decisons are made about what, when, where, and how at the polling place.” Eddie Hailes #electionrap
Well funded campaign across the country to suppress our votes. History repeats itself. Take back elections. #electionrap @oaklandrising
Strategic redistricting can make it so folks who walk into wrong polling place can still cast their votes. @eescobedobg #ElectionRAP
Voting is to civic participation as stretching is to exercise. If you don’t do it, it will hurt later. Rashad R. @ColorOfChange #ElectionRAP
Democracy works when all of us are able to have our voices heard & power is accountable to all of us. Rashad R. @ColorOfChange #ElectionRAP
Ed hailes, Jr. From the Advancement Project is breaking down the SWAG of election protection #electionrap
Try to recruit bilingual poll volunteers to help support your community. Kathay Feng #ElectionRAP
Great tips to Develop a Field Plan: Review a map of election sites to determine if sites are intuitive for local voters. #Electionrap
Ask for poll map for your community. OK to suggest additional locations if doesn’t meet needs of your community @eescobedobg #ElectionRAP
Can’t build culture of civic participation without taking back elections administration. @eescobedobg #ElectionRAP
Election protection = policies and practices of where & how elections take place. @eescobedobg #ElectionRap
Please find below handouts from the event:
Voter ID Toolkit Flyer Potential Election Day Problems_November 2011 Poll Watcher 6 04 version Lawyers’ Committee Election Protection Overview_Short 3 Future of California Elections Roadmap 2011 FINAL EP Smartphone App Promotional Flyer Election Protection 2012 Target States_9-16-11