Voting is Social Work

Central to social work’s values and social justice mission. Gives individuals and communities the power to voice their opinions and effect change. Non-partisan voter registration, education and outreach are legal, ethical and professional.

Voting is a Human Right!

Strenuous efforts exist to restrict access to voting. Not unlike the old poll tax, they include strict voter ID laws, purging voter rolls and intimidation by political parties and even those in charge of elections.

Over 20 million people have felony convictions, nearly 6 million of which have unfairly lost the right to vote–disproportionately from communities of
color (38%).

In the 4 worst states, more than 1 in 5 African Americans have lost the right to vote.

State by state rules have created widespread confusion with most assuming they cannot vote even when they can.

Voting rights are protected for many groups, including:
• Persons who are homeless
• Victims of domestic violence
• The disabled, including those with language and reading barriers; and
• Those in pre-trial detention.

VOTING = Better Outcomes
Individual and communities that vote report better health, employment and other important outcomes; receive more resources from elected officials; and develop stronger community connections.

Voting builds power! It maximizes the capacity to influence public policy and can offset some of the negative effects of oppression
and discrimination.

Yet BARRIERS Still Exist
• Confusing registration and ID requirements
• Not knowing where, when and how to vote
• Lack of transportation
• Long lines
• Lack of information on candidates and issues
• People believing their vote doesn’t matter
• Wrongly thinking that voter registration is partisan, illegal, unethical and unprofessional

10 ways agencies can make a difference
1. Ask clients if they are registered to vote during in-take or check-in.
2. Help clients register online or via mail-in form.
3. Check voter registration status at current address, voter ID requirements and voting rights at VOTE.ORG.
4. Help clients sign up for text/ email reminders to vote at TURBOVOTE.ORG.
5. Help clients look up who represents them and how to contact their elected officials.
6. Invite elected officials to your agency and encourage clients to attend candidate forums.
7. Reach out to local partners for candidate guidesresources.
8. Get copies of ballot at town clerk’s office before the election.
9. Remind and encourage people to vote. Many nonvoters have never been asked.
10. Create a culture of voting in your agency and in your community!

For more information, visit Voting is Social Work