Hartford Community Voter Project 2012: Because Who Votes Matters

October 23, 2012 -- Connecticut Center for a New Economy

If poor peole voted in higher numbers we might be hearing candidates talk about poverty. Instead it remains this election’s invisible issue. 

Connecticut Center for a New Economy's 2012 Community Voter Project (CVP) set out to change that fact – one neighborhood, one door, at a time. Our 10-week summer CVP project encouraged hundreds of disengaged Hartford residents to become active community voters –recognizing that they have a stake in local, state, and national elections. 

With the help of our five college student interns (including four who grew up in Hartford) and 79 volunteers from 26 organizations, we surveyed and organized hundreds of residents in struggling neighborhoods and amplified the voice of inner city residents in the August primaries.  We also partnered with the Greater Hartford Branch of the NAACP, UNITE HERE Local 217, House of Praise and Worship, the Greater Hartford Central Labor Council, and many other organizations and, together, reached Hartford residents in neighborhoods with the lowest levels of voter and civic participation. 

This fall the CVP will continue getting people fired up to take action and change their communities. A well-staffed, comprehensive recruitment program comprised of more than 25 local community and labor organizations surveyed community members about their concerns. The issues residents cited most frequently were crime, jobs, and programs and opportunities for youth.

Through in-depth conversations with residents we aim to connect issues affecting inner-city residents with the need to build power and make change.

At its core the CVP is about political empowerment for underrepresented communities. We see voting as essential to making democracy work, but we also hope that through this work residents will get more involved in advocating for their communities over the long haul. 

To accomplish this, we recruit passionate residents to come out and volunteer with the CVP, then organize and mobilize with them to fight for the things our communities need: excellent public education, access to quality health care, affordable housing, and good jobs that sustain families and the economy.