#SWRocktheVote — How NASW Michigan is registering voters

Detroit residents vote in the Michigan primary in March. Photo courtesy of Zimbio.

Detroit residents vote in the Michigan primary in March. Photo courtesy of Zimbio.

By Allan Wachendorfer

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Michigan Chapter started a voter registration drive this fall and issued free voter registration packets to social workers and students who requested them.

Each packet contained information on doing a drive; 25, 50, or 100 blank forms, pre-paid envelopes to send the filled forms to county clerks; and a questionnaire to help evaluate the process.

We also partnered with the ACLU-Michigan, which supplied us with Let Me Vote  (let-me-vote) voter rights brochures, complete with an NASW logo on each one. These were also included in each packet — enough to give each registered voter a free brochure.

NASW has joined a Rock the Vote voter registration campaign with Social Work Helper Magazine, The American Academy of Social Work and Social Work Welfare. Learn more about how you can get involved in campaign, which ends September 30.

So far we have sent out 2,500. We ran out of funding to continue sending the free forms, pre-paid envelopes, and voter rights brochures, but we continue to provide a digital packet (voter-registration-email-packet)  so people can print and mail the forms at their own expense.

About 12 people have received these so far, including several professors who are using them in schools of social work to assign voter drives to students as class projects. I’ve also been impressed by the number of professionals who are going to be registering clients to vote.

Research suggests that social workers often reach people who are typically unreached by traditional voter registration efforts. Research also suggest that clients’ mental health is improved by being empowered through involvement in the political process.

allanwachendorferAllan Wachendorfer, LLMSW, is director of public policy for the National Association of Social Workers Michigan Chapter

One comment

  1. Thank you for this information. I am curious as to the instructions the professors gave their students in the assignments. A few years ago, NASW held a voter registration training in my local unit (as part of a Chapter-wide initiative). We were instructed to avoid voter registration drives at a certain shopping plaza in a middle-class to affluent area of town because “we don’t want those people to vote”.

    It is hoped the professors instructed their students to be non-judgmental in their tasks to register clients to vote.

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