King County Elections and Seattle Foundation today announce the recipients of $435,000 in grants for voter engagement in communities that are historically underrepresented in the democratic process.
A total of 30 community-based organizations are receiving funding to offer basic education about voting in King County and technical assistance, such as helping voters complete a voter registration form.
“I’m thrilled with the diversity of organizations being funded this year and the exciting plans to support voting in their communities,” said Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections. “We’re committed to improving voting access, especially in what is an important local election year for King County.”
The fund offered community-based organizations the opportunity to apply for up to $25,000 to develop a 9-month campaign to engage voters or potential voters, and up to $10,000 to provide a series of smaller events.
“Our democracy truly thrives when everyone participates, and participating through voting is one of our nation’s highest values,” said Tony Mestres, President and CEO of Seattle Foundation. “The recipients of these Voter Education Funds represent diverse communities and work to engage those communities in the most important part of being a citizen: using their voice.”
Funded organizations represent a diverse range of historically underserved communities across King County. They include Longhouse Media, which produces media relating to Native issues and people, and The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, which ensures safety and survival for people while they are homeless.
Longhouse Media plans to use their award to engage Native youth in the civic process.
"It’s imperative that Indigenous people, especially the youth, are invited to vote and made to feel that their voices matter to the future of our communities,” said Tracy Rector, Executive Director of Longhouse Media.
The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness intends to use the funding to ensure the region’s most impoverished citizens have the necessary information to participate in the voting process.
“We are excited and honored to receive support from the Voter Education Fund to help make sure that people without homes have a voice,” said Alison Eisinger, Executive Director of The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. “For people who are homeless, exercising the right and responsibility to vote can be complicated and discouraging, but in our democracy, where you live and how much money you have should not affect whether you can vote.”
Organizations receiving funding will attend a training workshop at King County Elections during the week of June 12, 2017.
The Voter Education Fund was created after a successful pilot to engage communities that speak a language other than English. Last year, King County Elections and Seattle Foundation awarded $224,000 in grants to community-based organizations. Through their voter outreach activities, the organizations reached 27,000 limited-English-speaking voters across King County.