MINNEAPOLIS (July 27, 2016) — Community specialists from the city of Minneapolis office of City Clerk along with several community partners are currently working to engage underrepresented populations to exercise their right to vote the primary elections Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 and in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2016.
As part of its One Minneapolis initiative, eight full-time Community Specialists are joining forces with non-partisan groups to build a stronger civic infrastructure engage Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, LGBTQIA, youths, active military members and veterans in Minneapolis.
“The City of Minneapolis is committed to ensure all eligible residents have the information they need to be able to participate in their local government, starting at the ballot box,” said Anissa Hollingshead, communications and outreach manager for the City Clerk’s office.
More than 10,000 Asian Americans reside in North Minneapolis where turnout is lowest in the state. The city recruited long time community organizer Jay Xiong to engage the community last spring. Xiong said he and his colleagues have been out canvassing neighborhoods talking to voters about the election.
“The community members here in North Minneapolis are unique in a sense that when we hear about the Asian American voting bloc, it is often centered across the river in St. Paul,” Xiong said. “Many are often unaware of the primary and general election mainly due to a lack of engagement. It is important to note that from 2008 to 2012, the number of eligible Asian American voters grew by 25 percent compared to a 3.6 percent growth statewide in Minnesota. And despite these figures Asian Americans continue to be overlooked, but in tight races this population can be the margin of victory.”
Elders and limited English speakers from the community have expressed encountering language barriers and a lack of voter assistance at the polls in recent elections. The city is recruiting bilingual election judges for the primaries and generals to ensure accessibility for voters on election day.
Voters may bring anyone to assist them on voting day or they can do in-person absentee early voting in downtown Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Early Vote Center located on 217 S 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401. The Early Vote Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on the last two Saturdays before the primary election on Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Our commitment to building One Minneapolis requires engaging all residents. To successfully do this, we need to build our capacity and ensure we are working in culturally competent ways to reach residents and build electoral engagement across the city,” Hollingshead said.
For more information visit www.vote.minneapolismn.gov.