With the 2022 midterm elections just three weeks away, the Boston Foundation held its first in what will be a series of nonpartisan forums on voter engagement on October 18. Boston Foundation President and CEO Lee Pelton
and Communications and Public Affairs Officer Julia Howard
opened the event with some words on the Boston Foundation’s engagement efforts
, which include the launch of a new voter awareness and engagement initiative, using Democracy Works’ TurboVote
platform to help people register to vote, check their registration status, sign up for election alerts, and make their plan to vote.
The need for engagement efforts were made clear a few minutes later as Peter Ciurczak of Boston Indicators
shared a data presentation that demonstrated just where we as a state fall short in voter engagement, particularly among non-White voters, whose turnout rates lag White turnout by large amounts. The result, in part, is a legislature that is older, whiter and more male than the state as a whole.
In the discussion that followed, panelists shared both their concerns over the causes of voter apathy or inaction, and some ideas that are helping to both drive higher voter registration and improved turnout in Massachusetts at a time when other states are using dubious means to make voting more difficult.
Panelists Beth Huang of Massachusetts Voter Table
, Adam Hinds of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
, and political consultant Wilnelia Rivera
highlighted the critical need for building trust as a precursor for engagement, as moderators Julia Howard
and Vetto Casado of TBF
asked them to share what works in creating more empowered and active citizens.