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Increasing Voter Participation Through Community Partnerships

Twenty-two community based partners funded to strengthen civic engagement among limited-English speaking residents


July 28, 2016

By Aaron Robertson, Senior Officer, Community Programs

Voting is on everyone’s mind in presidential election years, but local races that gather less attention often have a more profound impact on our day to day lives. This year alone issues like affordable housing, transit access and civic rights have faced our residences. Unlike national elections, these races can often be decided by only a handful of voters. That is why Seattle Foundation wants to ensure everyone has the ability to make their voice heard.

In terms of voter registration and turnout, many communities are underrepresented, but limited-English speakers face some of the most significant barriers. Getting the ballot in the right language, updating voter registration and navigating our political systems can all be a challenge and deterrent to voting.

To address this, Seattle Foundation and King County Elections launched an effort to support voter education and culturally relevant technical assistance within limited-English speaking communities. We will be working with 22 community-based organizations whose expertise in engagement and deep community relationships makes them the ideal partner to increase voter participation.

Those groups are:

– Asian Counseling and Referral Services
– APACEvotes
– Eritrean Community in Seattle and Vicinity
– InterIm Community Development Association
– International Community Health Services
– Iraqi Community Center and South King County Emerging Communities for Equity partners Bhutanese Community Resource Center of WA, Nsanga Corporation and Partner in Employment
– Korean American Coalition
– Latino Community Fund and partners South Park Information and Resource Center and Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
– Open Doors for Multicultural Families
– Rajana Society
– SeaMar
– Somali Community Services
– Somali Family Safety Task Force
– Somali Youth and Family Club
– Tasveer
– White Center Community Development Association and partner Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color

These grantees will work with Seattle Foundation and King County Elections to increase voter participation through voter education and technical assistance on how to complete a voter registration form, how to update voter information and where to find a ballot drop box. They will also lead outreach activities that will help inform limited-English speaking communities on the democratic process and our electoral system.

Seattle Foundation is exploring how it can increase the voice and influence of underrepresented communities, and voter access is just the first step. More information will be shared in the coming months about the launch of our Vibrant Democracy Initiative. Please check back or reach out to Aaron Robertson for more information about our voter participation work or the upcoming Vibrant Democracy Initiative.

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