The HWC Holds Voter Education Sessions
The HWC officially kicked off its I Vote for My Family project this week with voter education sessions to talk about the importance of voting and some offices that are up for election for the 2014 Midterm Elections. On Sunday, February 23, HWC staff and volunteers offered four sessions following the Masses at Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Agnes Churches. In the sessions, participants shared that while they had had been citizens for up 10 years, they rarely voted because they did not know how to register or who the candidates were. At the end, many expressed feeling more knowledgeable about the voting process, as well as eager to learn more, particularly about potential candidates. In addition to working in South Omaha, the HWC has also expanded its efforts to work with college students. Working with students from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO), a presentation was organized and presented with Project Achieve on Wednesday, February 26. Project Achieve is a federally funded program that provides financial and academic support to first-generation, limited income, and/or disabled college students.
With a group of college age students, we discussed the lack of voter participation among 18-29 year olds. During the 2010 Midterm Elections, Nebraska experienced the lowest voter turnout nationwide among 18-29 year olds, at 13.6% (CIRCLE). In addition, the group mentioned a variety of issues that were important for them when voting, ranging from internet privacy laws and student loans to drivers licenses for DACA students.
After the presentation, participants said it was informative, particularly because they knew little about voting and the importance of it before. For the HWC, teaching about civic engagement is a long-term process, and these presentations are only a first step to developing conscious and long-term voters.