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Making Voting Easier

Helping more Utahns vote is the goal of our  new full-time colleague, Niki Venugopal.

Voting is a fundamental right, no matter where you live. To realize that goal, the ACLU of Utah’s new Voting Rights Coordinator, Niki Venugopal, is launching an 18-month campaign to ensure equal and adequate access to the ballot box across the state. 

acluvoter1,082,972 Utah voters went to the polls in 2018—a record number for a midterm election—and this campaign is designed to maintain that momentum in 2020. From mobilizing door-to-door volunteer educators in Logan, to fighting voter discrimination in San Juan County, Niki’s goal is to empower and offer resources to under-represented communities and reduce obstacles to voting.

Here are the key takeaways from her Voting Rights Campaign Action Plan:

  • Voter Education: Reduce the confusion about voting ID requirements and early voting by launching social media campaigns and community trainings to ensure Utahns know how, when, and where to vote.
  • Community Volunteer Teams: Offer resources, training and support to civil rights activists across the state to organize volunteers able to reach new and reluctant voters in their neighborhoods.
  • Poll Monitoring: Observe and implement the legal settlement we reached with San Juan County in 2018 to provide better translation and language assistance for Navajo-speaking voters, plus conduct poll monitoring in two other counties.
  • Election Information: Work with county clerks—who run elections in Utah—to provide accurate details about voter registration and polling locations. Why? Because a 2018 ACLU of Utah survey determined that many county clerks posted wrong and misleading information about voting on their websites—or no details at all.
  • Voter Registration in Jails: U.S. citizens in Utah jails awaiting a trial or serving time for a misdemeanor (unless convicted of a voting-related offense) can still vote. We will work with Black Lives Matter, Indivisible, and Voterise to expand voter registration and education programs to rural jails and educate individuals with prior convictions about their right to vote.
  • Voters’ Rights: Protect voting reforms that make it easier for Utahns to cast a ballot—like Election Day Registration—that allowed 34,000 people to register and vote in 2018. Plus, defend Proposition 4 to create an independent redistricting commission as supported by the electorate.  

 

These goals will keep us busy, but they only represent a part of the work Niki has planned between now and November 2020. For this campaign to be successful, we need your help. 

To get involved, sign up to be a Voting Rights Volunteer by completing a short application at www.acluutah.org/votingvolunteer

Join our effort, and we will provide the training you can use to make a difference in your own community.

 

 

 

…from the Fall 2019 Liberty Reporter