FREED makes calls to up voter registration
Dialing 465 phone numbers marked the first drive to increase voter registration for the FREED Center for Independent Living.
“This is the first time we’ve actually done a phone bank,” said Ana Acton, FREED systems change advocate. Five of FREED’s six phone lines were staffed by workers and volunteers Tuesday, who were making a new effort to get information to voters who have used their services.
Not everyone called answered, a few hung-up, some were already registered and several were not at all interested in voting, but the project did have some success.
“You did hear some voter apathy,” Acton said, adding that overall responses were “pretty positive.” FREED has mailed out a number of voter registration forms and accompanying information to follow up on the phone bank.
Oct. 23 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election.
One of the goals of the phone drive was to increase voting turnout among the disabled population. “People with disabilities have a really low voter turnout,” Acton said, adding she wants to help “build political power” for them.
Thirty-five percent of the disabled population votes, according to her figures. By increasing that number, Acton hopes disabled people can gain clout in a list of areas: housing accessibility and affordability, healthcare, employment, disabled programs and civil rights.
Regarding the new voting equipment at the Elections Office for this election, Acton said, “Diebold is going to create better access for voters with disabilities,” helping them to make their selections “independently and privately.”
People interested in help with voting can call FREED at 272-1732. The group is also working with Telecare to arrange trips to polling places. Telecare can be reached at 272-1710.
To reach staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4234.
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