King County Elections and Seattle Foundation are partnering to award $400,000 in grants for voter engagement in underserved communities.
The Voter Education Fund provides grants for community-based organizations to offer basic education about voting in King County and technical assistance, such as helping voters change their address in their preferred language.
“One of the hallmarks of a vibrant democracy is having an inclusive election process,” said Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections. “The Voter Education Fund serves to increase voter access in historically underserved communities.”
Community-based organizations can apply for up to $25,000 to develop a 9-month campaign to engage voters or potential voters, or up to $10,000 to provide a series of smaller events.
Organizations encouraged to apply are those that reduce inequities in voting access in historically marginalized communities, such as communities of color, limited English-speaking communities, people with disabilities, low-income youth, veterans, the homeless and reinstated voters who have been convicted of a felony.
“It’s critically important that all of our citizens, including those who are disenfranchised or have historically low voting rates, actively contribute to our vibrant democracy by voting,” said Tony Mestres, President and CEO of Seattle Foundation. “The Voter Education Fund is an important tool to reach underserved groups and communities to encourage them to cast ballots and participate in our democratic process.”
The Voter Education Fund was created after a successful pilot to engage communities who speak a language other than English. Last year, King County Elections and Seattle Foundation awarded $224,000 in grants to community-based organizations. Through their voter outreach activities, the organizations reached 27,000 limited-English-speaking voters across King County.
The application period for the Voter Education Fund is open from April 3 to May 2, 2017. Organizations interested in applying can download an application online.
Information sessions will be held Tuesday, April 11, from 2-3:30 p.m. at The 2100 Building, Community Room B, 2100 24th Ave S, Seattle, 98144 and Thursday, April 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Technology Access Foundation’s Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th Street, Seattle, 98146 .