In 2012, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Fund is building a deeper civic engagement program out of our economic justice program. The project focuses first and foremost on the economic depression that has gripped Milwaukee’s people of color communities for the last three decades.
The November 2012 election offers us a unique opportunity to engage tens of thousands of historically underrepresented and drop off voters in Milwaukee in a conversation about the jobs crisis and the importance of voting. The objective of our 2012 non-partisan civic engagement program is to increase civic participation in the November 6th election by connecting the act of voting to community empowerment and to the issue of making public investments in family sustaining jobs.
Our Fall 2012 civic engagement program is a continuation of our successful voter engagement program in the June 5th Recall Election, which included a significant Partnership for Working Families contingent. In the 50 predominately African-American wards we worked during the Recall Election we helped turnout reach 92.25% in the 2008 Presidential Election. This compares with 84% in the entire city of Milwaukee.
Key Program Components:
Voter Rights Education
We are conducting an education campaign on attacks on our voting rights in Wisconsin. The program focuses on speaking engagements with churches, senior and other community groups. There is a great deal of interest in facts about the new law. We are using this education campaign to engage our faith partners in our broader voter engagement efforts, including voter registration, voting pledge cards and door canvassing. On Tuesday, September 25th we participated in the National Day of Voter Registration Action.
Poll Worker Recruitment and Training
We are working with our faith-based partners and the City of Milwaukee Election Commission to recruit and train poll workers. We will work with Election Commission to solve problems discovered in polling location during the June 5th Recall Election.
Direct Voter Engagement
Our direct voter engagement has taken numerous forms, from paid canvassers to volunteer programs to direct mail pieces to an early vote rally on Saturday October 27th. All of these forms of voter engagement have targeted the same 50 under-represented Milwaukee wards we targeted in the 2012 election and the 2012 Recall Election, educated voters about their voting rights, and encouraged turnout to the polls.