United Ways of California Champions Voting Rights Through Statement of Principles and Text VOTE to 211 211 Campaign to Empower Eligible Voters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
United Way Affirms Voting as a Bedrock of Our Democracy and Means for Achieving the Common Good, and Urges All Those Who Are Eligible to Text VOTE to 211-211
Excerpt from statement by United Ways of California’s President and CEO, Peter Manzo:
[Los Angeles, CA] – United Way mobilizes the caring power of communities for the common good. Today, our role is even more critical than ever. We know that it takes engaged citizens, working in good faith, from all sectors – community, business, labor, government and charitable – to improve the quality of life in our communities. This is why we are committed to expanding participation in our democracy. There is a deep connection between participating in community life and voting. Voting is how we express our hopes and dreams for our shared future. It is also the most fundamental right for all American citizens, upon which all other rights and liberties depend.
That is why ahead of the 2020 General Election, we launched Text VOTE to 211-211, a campaign to provide voters in the Golden State – accessible to voters all across the country – the verified information and accessible resources they need to safely cast their ballots, and have their voices heard. Our mission to fight for the education, health, and financial stability of every person in every community, and the fight to protect the voting rights of every eligible voter in every community, are as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asserted, “interrelated, and tied in a single garment of destiny.”
Accordingly, we commit to leveraging our assets, partners and investments to make certain that voting is safe, accessible and fair nationwide. In particular, we fight to:
– Increase access to voting: We believe that when more Americans can participate in elections, our communities are stronger, healthier and more resilient. Candidates and campaigns seek out and respond to communities with higher voter registration and turnout rates. When our communities participate, we have more access to decision makers, increased influence, and a greater chance to have our issues addressed. Our work to help more people register to vote and participate in the democratic process creates more active citizens and stronger communities.
– Ensure voting is safe: We are committed to doing our part to ensure that all Americans can vote safely, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. We believe that no one should have to make the difficult decision about whether to exercise their right to vote or their right to be healthy. State and local governments should provide people with voting options, such as early voting, responsive online and/or same-day registration, and absentee voting, to reduce their risk of contracting the coronavirus and protect the health of vulnerable groups such as older adults and people with an increased risk of severe COVID-19. We support efforts to promote safe voting alternatives to ensure people won't have to risk their health for exercising their democratic duty.
– Elevate community voice: United Ways reach people often missed by political campaigns, contributing to more active citizenship and an electorate that more fully represents the communities we serve. Our democracy is not perfect. It has historically disenfranchised Black Americans and women, but through decades of struggle and advocacy, we have moved closer to the ideals set out in our Constitution. Yet today, too many Black and Brown Americans still are excluded, if not by law then by how our elections are administered. Local United Ways are uniquely positioned to reach individuals across the country who are younger, lower-income, and more diverse than the general public—groups that historically participate in voting at lower rates.
We are in the business of bringing communities together, and during these trying times, when so many resources are targeted on driving our communities apart, we must do what we can to bring more voices to express their view of the common good.
Click here to read the full statement.