Cincinnati NAACP launches new voter awareness van

The Cincinnati NAACP plans to use a new mobile civic engagement station to promote voting in marginalized neighborhoods throughout Hamilton County.

The organization launched V.O.T.E (Voting Outreach Training Education) on Feb. 12, making it the first NAACP chapter in the United States to launch such a civic engagement strategy. 

A key part of the effort is a new Mobile Civic Engagement Unit, a 24-foot by 10-foot bus retrofitted with all sorts of technology. It features six computer stations, printers and Wi-Fi, and will feature a bevy of information and resources related to local and national election issues.

Cincinnati NAACP plans to host monthly events in areas across the region, beginning in April.  

Trained volunteers will educate residents about the voting process, distribute instructional materials, print sample ballots, provide absentee ballot request forms and assist with online registration. Paper voter registration forms will be available as well.

Those in attendance will receive instructions for how to verify their registration status, track their mailed applications and ballots, find polling locations and identify their elected officials.

“For 109 years, our chapter has been a local leader and national role model in our organization’s mission to advance policies and practices that expand human and civil rights,” Joe Mallory, Cincinnati NAACP president, said of his organization’s mission.

Brining awareness, opportunity to residents

Mallory went on to thank sponsors and partners – Fifth Third FoundationMcElrath Slade Wholeness InstituteThe Kroger Co.Greater Cincinnati Foundation, J. Phillip Holloman and the Urban League of Southwestern Ohio – for making the effort possible.

“The Cincinnati NAACP will leverage technology and mobility to reach residents more easily to empower, engage and educate them on voting,” he continued.

David Whitehead, Cincinnati NAACP’s political action and voter empowerment chair, said there are big plans for the mobile unit beyond this election cycle. They’re focusing on scaling the model to make sure it’s sustainable.

Community partners can request the Cincinnati NAACP Mobile Civic Engagement Unit on a first-come, first-served basis. Scheduling will depend on unit and volunteer availability.

“We look forward to elevating and continuing to do the work of the Cincinnati NAACP by taking the mobile unit into communities, educating residents about civic engagement and training volunteers,” Whitehead said.

Cincinnati NAACP

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