LOS ANGELES – As a historic presidential election approaches, AltaMed Health Services, the nation’s largest independent federally qualified community health center in the nation, joins National Voter Registration Day on September 22 for a massive cross-country effort to register voters in advance of Election Day this November.
AltaMed’s “My Vote. My Health.” or “Mi Voto. Mi Salud.™” aims to reach low propensity voters in underrepresented communities across the state by using health centers as civic engagement hubs. The program empowers Latinos and millennials to take an active role in political elections to protect access to quality health care and challenge social issues that impact vulnerable communities. Existing civic engagement programs and voter mobilization campaigns have overlooked outreach to Latinos and millennials living in low-income communities because of their historically low engagement, even though Latinos make up 30.5% or 7.9 million of the eligible voters in California.
AltaMed increases civic participation by offering voter registration, bilingual electoral education materials, flex voting opportunities, and ballot collection at its health centers. Campaign representatives also door knock in the neighborhoods they serve to assist community members in voter registration and operate a phone bank to remind them to vote.
“Since we opened our doors, we’ve showed our community their concerns are valid and they have a voice,” said Jennie Carreon, associate vice president of civic engagement at AltaMed. “When seniors in our Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) expressed a desire to vote, but often didn’t have ability to get to the polls, we partnered with the Los Angeles County Registrar to bring flex voting machines to them. Through a grant from the California Endowment and a partnership with the California Primary Care Association, we’re able to make efforts like this possible and expand voter outreach.”
During the March 3, 2020 presidential primary election, in partnership with additional community health centers, AltaMed contacted 42,480 low-propensity voters in Southern California. Representatives called and visited a total of 546,141 households across California, in San Diego County, Orange County, South East Los Angeles, and Oakland. Data validated by political scientist Matt Barretto of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative showed a 12.75% increase in voter turnout across the four different regions that AltaMed contacted.
Through support from the California Primary Care Association, AltaMed expanded it civic engagement program training to community health centers across California, including: Golden Valley Health Centers, Asian Health Services, Borrego Health, Lifelong Medical Care, Livingston Community Health, WellSpace Health, San Ysidro Health, and La Clinica de la Raza.
National Voter Registration Day is designed to create an annual moment when the entire nation focuses on registering Americans to exercise their most basic right – the right to vote. Nearly three million Americans have registered to vote on this holiday since the inaugural day in 2012.
To learn more about AltaMed’s My Vote. My Health, visit: altamed.org/policy-advocacy.