Building Trust with New and Lapsed Voters
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Building Trust with New and Lapsed Voters

Attention is high for tomorrow's Super Tuesday primary election. Yet there are a lot of people who do not feel motivated to participate, due to lack of trust in our political system as well as confusion about the voting process.  In California’s last Presidential Primary, only 35% of those eligible cast a ballot. People with below average incomes and education levels are much less likely to vote.

With help from the California State Library, Common Knowledge has partnered with a team of skilled grassroots leaders at library-based literacy programs around the state to update the training and tools of our signature Key to Community project. In addition to being the seed bed for the popular multi-lingual Easy Voter Guide, Key to Community provides adult learners with peer-design and peer delivered Why, How and What of voting so they make their own choices (rather than being persuaded to support the goals of a particular campaign). This is integral in building trust with new voters.

Key to Community also conducted voter education with the League of Women Voters of Oakland Reentry task force (an initiative begun by Mony Flores-Bauer, a senior Associate at Common Knowledge).  If you’re interested in engaging more diverse community members, watch this short video of our collaborator Resonja Willoughby, from Oakland Public Library’s Second Start as she explains how to increase participation in voting, the census, as well as year round to Grow the Good in Your Community.

Learning Together about Transportation and Housing

As we've supported housing engagement in San Mateo County with Home for All over the past three years, we've routinely heard how the issue of housing is closely connected to other aspects of community life and infrastructure. Building on a November community meeting and additional outreach with local workers, San Carlos community members came together on February 1 to explore the intersection of housing and transportation. The meeting was the second in a series hosted by the City of San Carlos, as part of its
Welcome Home San Carlos initiative.

Also in San Mateo County, Foster City recently launched its engagement project: Home is Foster City. Ahead of their first conversation on April 22, city staff have been reaching out to local groups, planning in-person outreach activities and encouraging diverse participation on the City's community survey. This engagement also integrates housing and transportation issues. Common Knowledge is also supporting County of San Mateo outreach around mobility on the Midcoast.

Hidden Opportunity in the Census

Census education is swinging into full gear.  In addition to the many benefits of future data with a more complete count, discussions around the 2020 census presents an opportunity to acquaint the community with data they have on hand right now.  Looking at a snapshot of local demographics creates a learning opportunity about “who we are now and who we are becoming” as a community.

Our partners, like the Redwood City Public Library, have also been making good use of the California Interactive Hard-to-Count Map in their census outreach and trainings. Census 2020 requires outreach ambassadors who have already developed trust with parts of the community that have been routinely undercounted and is spotlighting the importance of talented community connectors and essential  institutions like the library.  Our colleagues at the County of San Mateo have one of our favorite handouts with wise outreach tips based on cultural humility.  We recommend that you nurture your investment in these connections after the census is completed.

Common Knowledge Team Updates

Our team member Monica Cañas was recently selected to join the Board of Directors of Marin Latino Leaders, an organization that provides a platform for Latinx leaders to share their stories, knowledge and professional expertise to further educate and empower the Latinx community in Marin County. Monica is eager to introduce fresh, new ideas for speakers/topics, create more networking opportunities, and establish a consortium with similar regional groups in the Northern Bay Area.

We'd love to hear your updates too. And please reach out if you would like to be on the invitation list for our Spring 2020 conversation series on the "Habits of Healthy Communities."

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