A $2,000 micro-grant from Forefront, a statewide membership association of nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies and advisors, is helping Erie Neighborhood House step up efforts to ensure the collective voice of its community is heard during the 2018 midterm election on Tuesday, November 6.
The #ILVote micro-grant was made through Forefront’s Nonprofit Vote 2018 Campaign and has included training, support and resources to strengthen Erie House’s voter registration drive this summer and fall.
Per the grant agreement, Erie House is tasked with registering and/or updating the registrations of 250 eligible voters prior to the midterm elections. The grant is being managed by the Health and Leadership Program at Erie House, and program director Micaella Verro said her team has set an internal goal of reaching 400 eligible voters.
“When our community votes, political campaigns and elected officials start to pay attention,” said Verro, emphasizing the importance of mobilizing the Latinx community alongside which Erie House works. “They pass policies that our community needs.”
The registration drive is nonpartisan—Erie House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and thereby prohibited from advocating for a particular political party or candidate. “We want to encourage people to vote, but how they vote is up to them,” said Verro.
“When our community votes, political campaigns and elected officials start to pay attention.”
– Micaella Verro, Health and Leadership Program Director
The important outcome, she explained, is that people are empowered to make their voices heard at the polls. “Voting is an act of self-defense and self-preservation for communities that are all too often ignored,” said Verro. “If we don’t vote, then we give permission for our community to continue being an afterthought to those in power.”
Erie House is hoping to ride the momentum of two important dates in the near future to boost engagement. Today, September 25, is National Voter Registration Day, and early voting begins in Illinois on Thursday, September 27.
The last day for regular voter registration in Illinois is October 9 (October 21 for those registering online), but a grace period extends all the way to Election Day. Verro nevertheless stressed the importance of registering and becoming informed well in advance of November 6.
To verify your registration status, you can visit the Illinois Board of Elections online. For questions or assistance with registration, contact Erie House at (312) 432-2212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.