DEMOCRACY FOR ALL
MassVOTE is rooted in this country’s historical struggles for racial equality over the past 200+ years, and initiated by the passing of the cornerstone civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Acts of 1965. Our roots stem from those that worked to create and form a culture of civic participation among historically disenfranchised groups in underserved communities across the country. Today these communities comprise the “rising electorate” of Massachusetts, comprised of people of color, naturalized citizens, youth and low income voters. Our Democracy for All program continues our work in promoting non-partisan voter education, engagement and participation in our democratic system. Learn more about our program areas:
Integrated Voter Engagement (I.V.E)
As part of our ongoing effort to close the racial voter participation gap and build long-term capacity for civic engagement and grassroots organizing in Massachusetts, MassVOTE works in partnership with other organizations to build civic engagement capacity in communities of color, with the end goal of building democracy centered on racial equity. In partnership, we coach 35-50 organizers of color at almost 30 organizations on how to run effective field programs in communities of color every year. We develop trusted messengers to educate, mobilize, and organize voters in their own communities year-round. We democratize access to voter data and tools such as VAN and Hustle to ensure that grassroots organizations in communities of color have access to the same (or better) data and tools as candidate campaigns and partisan organizations.
People of color made up 19.1% of eligible voters (Citizen Voting Age Population) but cast only 10.3% of all ballots in Massachusetts in 2018. This 46% statewide gap between potential power (share of the eligible electorate) and actual power (vote share) is much higher in many cities and counties in Massachusetts. As people of color move from historically redlined neighborhoods of Boston to Gateway Cities due to a combination of rising rents in Boston and home buying opportunities in Gateway Cities, we need to deepen the infrastructure for civic engagement and organizing in areas of the state that are experiencing population growth. This is essential as we prepare for redistricting at the state and federal levels in 2021 and at the local level in 2022. In order to do this work, we have launched five regional tables, called Democracy HUBS (Holistically Unified Blocs of Solidarity.)
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Workshops and Trainings:
MassVOTE trainings are designed to advance and support developing civic engagement ambassadors throughout with the hope that we all can support civic participation by educating and learning what is it takes to get out the vote. Areas our training and workshop cover are: training and workshop consist of:
MassVOTE Why Voting Matters
Voter Access: Know your Rights
Voter Registration Process & Activation
Election Reform Legislation, Election Cycle and Current legislative priorities
Voter Engagement: Get Out the Vote Planning
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Transforming Local Elections
The fight for equitable voter turnout in Massachusetts is in a compounded crisis. Low turnout and inequitable representation is prominent in national elections and exacerbated in local elections. This issue further removes historically marginalized communities from one of the most powerful civic rights in the Commonwealth. In our report, "MassVOTE's Role in Transforming Local Elections," we seek to understand how voter engagement levels fall across gender and racial groups in Massachusetts to acquire deeper information and tools to enhance future outreach campaigns. We analyze qualitative and quantitative data to craft the subsequent findings and discovered a new metric to address inequities head-on. This analysis yielded strong data supporting what voting rights advocates already know: the historically marginalized communities in Massachusetts experience the worst impacts of low voter turnout. To conclude this report we demonstrate how the policy and education wings of MassVOTE may be employed to combat low turn-out in off-cycle elections, press for greater access to ballots, and enhance the culture of civic engagement. MassVOTE can take meaningful, tangible steps to make a difference in anti-racist voter engagement and building a stronger culture around civic engagement.
This report was researched and written by MassVOTE Tisch Fellow Caleb Seamon. Caleb is a third-year student at Tufts University originally from Leverett, Massachusetts. He studies International Relations and is a Tisch Scholar at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. In two years with MassVOTE he has assisted all staff-members on Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns and legislative monitoring as well as conducted independent research and collaborated with intern cohorts.