By Tamieka Atkins of ProGeorgia
ProGeorgia, a nonprofit civic engagement table for the state of Georgia, reports on its multi-pronged engagement efforts for Election 2018, including an exciting new pilot program aimed at increasing voter participation among mothers and childcare providers. Read about their innovative Childcare at the Polls initiative and stay tuned for more updates.
ProGeorgia is Georgia’s non-profit civic engagement table, bringing together a host of nonprofit groups across the state to work collectively and strategically to improve the policies of our state.
As we approach the midterm elections, we have a number of strategic programs in progress in our push to get out the vote for progressive policy change in Georgia.
ProGeorgia Get Out The Vote 2018 Childcare Collective Experiment
Childcare at the Polls is an experimental program that aims to enhance opportunities for Black women and other women of color to vote. Women of color are a key progressive voting bloc and civic engagement constituency. Fifty-six percent of ProGeorgia table partner organizations are led by women of color.
ProGeorgia wants to test whether providing childcare at early voting locations increases turnout, particularly among women of color with a child in the home. This is a promising idea, and we are unaware of any other organization that has tested how childcare availability influences turnout.
We are currently conducting a survey to examine if providing childcare at or near polling stations will increase voter participation among mothers and childcare providers. We will conduct a test to determine the effect of advertising free childcare on turnout among women of color. This test will take place during Georgia’s early voting period, from October 15 to November 5, before the November 6, 2018 general election.
In addition, we are working directly with domestic violence shelters in Georgia to provide childcare on election day to help expand voting opportunities for women in shelters with children.
ProGeorgia Midterm Engagement Strategy
For this upcoming election, ProGeorgia and our partner organizations have prioritized expanding the geographic reach of our collective efforts to register new voters and get out the vote.
We are targeting rural and coastal Georgia, in addition to our work in metro-Atlanta, to build organizing capacity and deepen relationships in communities with large New American Majority (NAM) populations – people of color, young people, single women, and low-income Georgians.
We do this by pursuing partnerships with organizations and community leaders to build and expand our network. These efforts supplement the strong foothold many of our partner organizations have been building over time in the metro Atlanta area, especially in areas with large communities of color and rapidly growing populations of NAM voters.
Our plans focus on mitigating the drop-off of NAM voters in midterm election years and positioning redistricting reform as a key issue in elections up and down the ballot. The New American Majority makes up over 61% of the voting age population in Georgia but represented only 45% of votes cast in 2012. Between 2012 and 2016 there was an upswing in turnout among nearly every demographic of people of color. Even so, every demographic except Black women still fell below the statewide turnout percentage of 72% in 2016.
However, a distinct shift in turnout between the 2014 primary election and the 2018 primary election – showing increases among every demographic of people of color – is an indication of a newly energized electorate. A thorough, well funded, get-out-the-vote campaign could very well result in record turnout among communities of color – turnout that could manifest itself into long-term community change.
Peer to Peer Texting Program
ProGeorgia is for the first time introducing the use of a peer-to-peer texting platform that allows us to quickly and effectively reach voters via text message. Unless you have written permission, text messages must be human initiated. We are using Hustle, a communications platform that allows us to send 800 texts per volunteer hour. Hustle enables us to easily send polling information, links to petitions, and other information valuable to voters.
National Voter Registration Day Fair
ProGeorgia will host a voter registration fair on September 25, National Voter Registration Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta. The fair will include games, music, live radio simulcast, medical check-ups, snacks, and prizes.
Our goal is to register 150 people. We will have 8 to 10 member organizations who will have tables with literature and active voter registration canvassers for the day. At 11:00 a.m. we will host a press conference to speak about the need for voter registration and turnout. The event will also be filmed and turned into a mini-documentary for future use.
We look forward to sharing additional updates on our efforts to engage and empower Georgians to make their voice heard at the ballot box and in the halls of power. We welcome individuals and organizations who might be interested in our work, and in peer-to-peer learning around voter engagement and turnout strategies, to connect with us.
Tamieka Atkins is the Executive Director of ProGeorgia.
ProGeorgia is Georgia’s non-profit civic engagement table and a member of the State Voices Network, a new model of cooperation and sharing amongst grassroots groups. Founded in 2012 by 12 organizations, ProGeorgia now consists of more than 30 organizations. These organizations come together across issues to agree on a common civic engagement strategy, align activities for maximum impact and measure collective progress. ProGeorgia facilitates increased communication and coordination among its partner organizations and provides strategic guidance through shared technology, data analysis, and coordinated voter engagement and field plan development. In doing so, the table brings together the power of existing non-profit groups to work in a more strategic way to change the policies of Georgia.
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