In a city led by the powers of the most influential government in the world, it’s no surprise there exists an organization whose mission was created in the minds of young politicos. For the past six years IMPACT has led civically minded young professionals to be more engaged in the realm of politics, volunteerism and financial literacy. In DC when you hear young black professional, The Hill and action, you are more than likely speaking about an individual involved with: IMPACT.
Name of Organization: IMPACT
Location: IMPACT is a national organization, but we are based out of Washington, DC.
Years in Operation: 6 years
Mission of the Organization: IMPACT’s three core principles: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT | POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT | ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT activities identify and enable IMPACT leaders to utilize resources to ensure the preservation and advancement of our communities. Through POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT, IMPACT facilitates and supports the engagement of our peers in politics, policy development, and advocacy. Focusing on ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT provides unique opportunities for IMPACT leaders to accumulate and preserve wealth, while imparting the skills and experiences needed to enable others to do the same.
IMPACT has spearheaded several programs this year, however our latest project focused on civic engagement. On August 15, 2012, IMPACT launched the #VoteReady campaign (and the www.getvoteready.org website), which provided individuals with answers to three critical questions:
- Am I prepared to vote?
- Am I registered to vote?
- Where do I cast my vote?
IMPACT’s goal was to prepare, engage, and educate youth as well as young professionals to ensure American citizens are equipped and prepared to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. #VoteReady also increased voter education and engagement among those who are disproportionately affected by recently enacted voter identification laws. In a span of three months, through our weekly Twitter Town Halls and use of the #VoteReady hashtag, IMPACT was able to reach more than 1.5 million Twitter users and generate over 4 million impressions.
IMPACT’s#VoteReady campaign was designed to equip targeted audiences with best practices to educate community members on vote readiness. The campaign also sought to ensure voters are able to:
- Identify polling locations
- Contact boards of election
- Access state-by-state voting deadlines
Why did we launch the #VoteReady campaign?
Since the beginning of 2011, 176 restrictive bills regarding voting laws have been proposed in 41 states total; to date, 14 states have already passed restrictive voting laws. Of the 176 states, at least 34 states have introduced laws that would require voters to show photo identification in order to vote, and 7 states have already passed and signed into law legislation requiring some form of voter identification legislation. Before the 2006 elections, no state had voter identification laws, either to register to vote or to vote at the polls on Election Day. At least 12 states have introduced laws that would require proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote or to cast a ballot.
Further, one of the primary contentions surrounding voting rights is the issue of photo ID laws, which require that those registering to vote or attempting to cast a ballot, present some form of government-issued ID. Voter ID laws are further restrictive because most types of government-issued IDs cost money and time to obtain. For people on a fixed income or those who work multiple jobs, this can raise an undue barrier to obtaining identification, and can thus restrict their right to vote. While 11% of all American citizens lack photo ID, a whopping 25% of African Americans lack photo ID. Moreover, 15% of those earning less than $35,000, 18% of citizens over 65, and 20% of voters ages 18-29 do not have photo ID.
This was a HUGE problem for IMPACT. Thus, we had several objectives for the #VoteReady campaign. They included:
- to register eligible voters 40 and under
- to re-register members of the 40 and under community to vote
- to encourage those who are able to vote early (where applicable)
- to encourage those who are unable to physically go to the polls, to register to vote absentee
- to inform voters about voter ID laws (where applicable)
- to utilize social media and other avenues to build awareness and educate voters
IMPACT Releases #VoteReady Report on African American Access to the Polls
Why was this organization started?
IMPACT is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization, founded by a group of young professionals to foster civic engagement, to increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and to enhance economic empowerment opportunities for young professionals ages 21 to 40.
Follow IMPACT on Twitter:
Like them on Facebook: facebook.com/teamIMPACTworld