Monday, December 3, 2007

NAACP Voter Empowerment training conducted in Baltimore over the weekend

This past weekend (Nov 30th & Dec 1st) the NAACP and the NAACP Voter Fund conducted a Natioinal Voter Empowerment training in Baltimore Maryland for Youth and College leaders and for State Political Action chairs. Representatives from 27 States were on hand to receive what turned out to be a very comprehensive training on strategies to maximize and protect our vote.


On Friday:
Angela Ciccolo, esq., NAACP Interim General Council, provided training on the applicable Federal Laws and the Legal Do's & Dont's of Voter Registration. Richard McIntire, NAACP Communications and PR Specialist, provided a Media Workshop dealing with interview strategies for print, radio, and television. Stephanie Brown, NAACP Youth & College Division Director, provided training on outreach to the 17-25 year old demographic and on the NAACP YC's new "Vote Hard" campaign to be rolled out in '08. We then had a session where State Conference Representatives and Youth & College Leaders were able to address one another and share best practices from across the Country. Later that evening, we were addressed by NAACP Interim President Dennis Hayes and Regional Director (Reg's 1, 3, &4) Rev. Gill Ford.

On Saturday:
Claude Foster of the NAACP Voter Fund talked about the increased and enhanced accountability standards the NAACP will now employ. Hillary Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Chief, and Alethea Bonello, NAACP Regional Youth Field Director, reviewed the NAACP's National legislative and advocacy agenda for 2008, and talked about the construction of candidate "Report Cards" and questionairres. They specifically addressed the Do's & Dont's for Non-profits (C3's and C4's) who engage in non-partisan 'Get out the Vote' activities. Tonya Clay, Esq. and Michelle Jawando, esq. of the People for the American Way (Pictured Below), gave a presentation on Election Protection highlighting methods and activities used to suppress the vote that NAACP activists should be on the look out for and should effectively guard against. And we wrapped up with a presntation from Mary Peeler and Claude Foster of the NAACP National Voter Fund who talked about the process of drafting an effective Voter Empowerment campaign.


Greg Moore, Executive Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, talked about the 7 strategic objectives for the coming election season. They are:
  1. Reducing barriers to African American voter participation and to increase African American citizen participationin the electoral process - especially urban, young, and new voters
  2. Strengthening the Voter Registration initiatives, techniques, and coordination techniques and standards of State and Local units of the NAACP and any other allied Religious, Civil Rights, and/or Community based organizations
  3. To utilize Media and PR strategies to convey messages to African Americans on key issues related to Civil Rights, stressing the importance of the electoral process and the need for the to participate in the political process
  4. To develop an Election Protection and Poll Monitoring program utilizing the MYVOTE1 voter protection hotline, and to begin to identify and establish a network of election observers at the grassroots level who would assist in the NAACP's Voter Protection Program
  5. To develop model programs, in coalition with other advoacy groups, that are designed to register recently re-enfranchised voters
  6. To develop lessons learned and best practices documents for use in future programming that identifies key challenges in registering and mobilizing African Americans and evaluates the NAACP and NAACP Voter Fund's program activities' impact on voter registration and turnout rates
  7. Take innovative steps to identify and restore the voter registrations of drop-off voters, lost registrants, and purged voters.
The Youth & College Leaders and State Conference representatives will begin training their local and State units at the next quarterly meetings this January. If any of you are interested in participating in this training or have an interest in getting involved with Voter Registration and Empowerment, please contact your local NAACP unit or State Conference Political Action Chair.
K Myles and Interim President Dennis Hayes

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