by Dana Lawrence, Director of Communications & Grassroots Advocacy, Michigan Primary Care Association
I was reminded yesterday that while numbers and data are important to show the effectiveness of a program or initiative, it is the personal story that really makes an impact. For months—and in some cases, years—Health Centers across the country have been registering patients, staff members, board members, and community members to vote. Since earlier this year, the number of folks that America’s Health Centers have reported to help register or update their registration now totals over 16,000. That’s a lot of people who are now registered to vote in the November 6th election thanks to the service of their local Health Center.
Yes, that number is impactful, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. I was touched by this personal account shared by a board member at East Jordan Family Health Center located in northern Michigan. It really put into perspective for me the importance of Health Centers registering voters.
“I registered an 18-year-old blind man today; he came to the Health Center because our organization offered this service on National Voter Registration Day. He did not come for medical care, but to register only. He was very appreciative that we helped him accomplish this, as he was concerned how he would be able to vote at the polls. I informed him that I could take his registration to the township clerk and he would be sent an absentee ballot, or they have a poll box for blind voters. He was very happy that his first voting experience was made easier with the help of the services we offered. For me that one experience made the whole day worthwhile and I am glad we put the effort forth to make that one day happen at our centers.”
As the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is just a few days away in most states, I encourage you to urge others to register or to update their registration if their name has changed or they’ve moved since they last voted. The Campaign for America’s Health Centers has a user-friendly online portal where folks can complete their state’s voter registration application online, and then print it out, sign it, and mail it to the office of their local board of elections. Once registered, learn about voting in your state and commit to voting in the November 6th General Election. Your vote DOES make a difference in the future of our great nation!