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‘The power of your vote’: Boosting voter registration among low-to-moderate-income voters

Sandra Moore (left) and Joan Lipkin (right) helped organize various voter registration drives in St. Louis to boost voting participation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
Sandra Moore (left) and Joan Lipkin (right) helped organize various voter registration drives in St. Louis to boost voting participation.

Midterm elections are important. But Sandra Moore, managing director and chief impact officer at Advantage Capital, said what’s more important is “mobilizing folks to register and vote.”

“The vote is the most powerful individual thing we have to engage as citizens,” Moore explained. The former president of Urban Strategies joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday to talk about a voter education and registration drive that seeks to energize women in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County for the Nov. 6 election.

In low-to-moderate income areas, there is a lack in high voter participation rates among what Moore called “ordinary working folks.” The "Voter Registration and You" Town Hall Event on Saturday will emphasize voter registration and education to people of that demographic, particularly women.

As part of the information-packed event, there will be a question-and-answer session with a panel of elected women. Among them will be U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green, among others..

“A round stage kind of Q&A … of these powerful elected women … who’ve taken time out of their day on Saturday to say, ‘Come and talk to me, no long speeches. Tell me what is on your mind, I’m here to listen and help you to understand the power of your vote in helping me do what you want me to do,’” Moore added.

Preventing barriers

Moore explained that accessibility issues are often barriers to preventing higher participation at the polls.

“Voter ID [laws], polling locations closing, hours of availability being shortened or … fewer polling places, longer waits in line and that sort of thing,” she said. In addition, Moore mentioned a “drop off” in voter education and motivation.

To encourage more voter participation, Moore said the one-day registration event will help inform attendees about what identification is required, how the voting process works and how to get information on ballot issues and candidates.

The final day to register to vote in Missouri is Oct. 10.

Our listener Andrea Drennan shared with us another way organizations are helping limit accesibility barriers to the polls on election day:

'Dance the Vote' initiative portrays status of voting throughout the country’s history, why voting is important

Another voter registration drive will take place at the Missouri History Museum, but with a twist. The “Dance the Vote” event on Saturday will promote voter awareness and registration through dance, poetry and spoken word. The St. Louis Voter Registration Group will be present to register voters.

Actor and activist Joan Lipkin, also artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, joined host Don Marsh on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to talk about the voting initiative.

The non-partisan, family-friendly event will be a “one-stop shop” for attendees.

“Get your ice cream, get your Michael Jackson [and] learn about whatever the [voter] challenges are,” Lipkin explained. 

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Alerwoman Megan Green will start the event with proclamations and resolutions declaring Oct. 6 as voter registration day in St. Louis.

The dance performances will draw on the theme of voting throughout the country’s history. They will portray various stages of voting for Americans – such as when women and people of color were restricted from the right to vote.“These pieces are all about the experiences and needs of people to vote,” Lipkin said. “We have pieces that look at the experiences of women … pieces that look at the profound experiences of African-Americans who have had a very difficult road … and even now there are tremendous challenges.”

Check to see if you are registered to vote: https://s1.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterlookup/

Related Events

What: "Voter Registration and You" Town Hall Event
When:  3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday, October 6, 2018
Where: St. Louis NAACP/LaunchCode headquarters (4811 Delmar, St. Louis, MO 63108)

What: Dance the Vote
When:  1 p.m. Saturday, October 6, 2018
Where: Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.