You may have noticed there’s an election going on. Our students and their families certainly have.
Throughout this year, Green Dot’s Community Engagement team has been working with our students and their families as part of our Green Dot Votes initiative. Our goal has been to help 1,000 voters register — and then take the next important step into a voting booth. Back on Primary Day in June, we helped more than 120 California students, families, and teachers get to their polling place — and, 100 of them were first-time voters.
That was just the start.
“Since our June outreach, I’m seeing that the community is well aware of ballot measures and that this election is about more than just electing a new president,” says Ana Gomez, Green Dot Community Engagement Associate. “Even families who cannot vote are coming out to learn more about what could potentially affect them. Many families are curious to learn more about the several propositions on the ballot.”
This year, for many new voters in particular, it is the choices at the very top of the ticket that seem to be driving interest in the election, and in making sure they are registered.
“I’m finding that many of them were motivated to register and go out to the polls because of the candidates,” says Bob Guzman, Community Engagement Associate. “They feel like this election puts a lot at stake, which is a motivating factor. It makes me happy to hear that first time voters have a sense of urgency about this election, especially since, at Green Dot, we remain non-partisan in our involvement by focusing on voter registration”
Green Dot followed up its get out the vote effort in the spring with another round of outreach beginning with return to the school year. A month ago, we hosted “family fun nights” at our schools to kick off a month of voter registration efforts.
“Our goal this time around was to register 85% of students who would be 18 by the election,” said Breanna Jordan, Community Engagement Coordinator at Green Dot. “We were pleased to find out that many students were already registered, which signifies that this election is extremely important to them as well, and that they have already been thinking about voting. Our next focus is on mobilizing the over 1,500 newly registered voters to turn out to vote.”
Of course, registering to vote is just one step. The next one — figuring out how you’re going to vote — is remarkably complicated this year, with 17 statewide ballot measures and even more at the local level. To assist our Green Dot voters, both experienced and new, we’ve held ballot parties at Ánimo Venice Charter High School, Ánimo Phillis Wheatley Charter Middle School, Ánimo Western Charter Middle School, and Oscar De La Hoya Ánimo Charter High School to provide information from the official California Voter Information Guide about what the different measures propose to do and what they mean.
“The propositions, especially the ones around education, are also interesting to me. Watching the media battles surrounding some of the props has been concerning. The power of misinformation and the way people can leverage the media to spread misinformation to get what they want is interesting.” says Leo Ontiveros, Community Engagement Associate.
Green Dot families attended the final ballot party this week, bringing the total number of ballot parties to five, but our work is not done. Community Engagement staff are continuing campaign efforts through phone banking, e-mails, social media posting, and more. Then, on November 8th we, along with everyone else, will participate in the democratic process.