Diversity and Community Engagement
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Archive for October, 2020

Voter Intimidation and Your Right to Vote

Posted on: October 29th, 2020 by elpayseu

In this blog post, Andrew Goodman Foundation Fellow Caroline Leonard shares important information about voter intimidation and your right to vote on Election Day. 

Voter Intimidation and Your Right to Vote

Voter intimidation is illegal in all 50 states. This means that you can not be coerced, threatened, or otherwise swayed to vote a specific way at the polling site. Additionally, many states do not allow campaigning for specific candidates within a certain distance of polling locations. The following information applies directly to Mississippi elections, but information about voter intimidation and armed militias for different states can be found at: Georgetown Law: Protection Against Voter Intimidation and  Georgetown Law: State Fact Sheets. If you want more information, look for the website for your local or state election office.

What voter intimidation can look like:

Voter intimidation is using threats and other intimidation tactics to alter how people will vote or to dissuade or prevent them from voting. Voter intimidation included spreading false information about voting requirements, using verbal threats, inciting or threatening to incite violence, recording information about voters and following them in the polling location, or blocking people from entering the polling location. Additionally, any sort of unauthorized militia is illegal. If you are confronted by an organized group holding weapons, threatening violence, or attempting to act as a militia, contact the authorities.

Furthermore, campaigning, displaying the slogans or likenesses of candidates, or otherwise trying to solicit votes is illegal within 150 feet of a polling location unless it is on private property. Poll watchers may be appointed by individual candidates or political parties to monitor polling sites, however they cannot interact with voters, handle any ballot, or assist in voting. Candidates for office, their immediate relatives, and employers also cannot assist someone directly with voting. These would also be forms of voter intimidation or coercion.

What to do if you feel unsafe:

If you experience voter intimidation there are different steps you can take. If there is immediate danger, call 911. If there is no present danger, notify a poll worker at the polling location, and if they are unable to help you can contact a poll watcher, the circuit clerk for your county, or you can contact the Secretary of State’s office if poll workers or watchers appear biased. Report what happened, when, where, and if there were other voters deterred from voting. If you encounter an armed group, try to take note of any insignias or flags they have, if they are operating in an organized or patrolling way, if they have weapons and what kind, and if they are interacting with voters. However, safety is the top priority. Do not approach the armed group to try and get more information.

There are multiple national election hotlines to call to report cases of voter intimidation, and for general help on the election day:

For English: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

For Spanish: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)

For Arabic: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)

For Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi and Bengali: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) 

For a Video Call in American Sign Language:  301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683)

Mississippi Secretary of State’s Election Hotline: 800-829-6786

If you believe your rights have been violated, you can also contact:

The ACLU: 601-354-3408 or letmevote@aclu.org

The US Department of Justice Voting Rights Section: 800-253-3931


Your Right to Vote:

You have a right to vote in the county you are registered in free from harassment or coercion. You are entitled to assistance in voting if needed. Additionally, there are a few alternative ballots you may encounter in addition to the standard ballot. These include:

  • Affidavit Ballot: If you do not have a photo ID with you on election day, the poll worker rules your ID to not resemble you closely enough, if you are not listed in the pollbook, or if you have changed addresses (still within the same county) but did not change your listed residence before the election, you can vote via affidavit ballot. If you vote with an affidavit ballot, you will have to go to the circuit clerk’s office within 5 days of the election to show valid ID. You should be given written instruction on how to check if your ballot was counted when you vote.
  • Curbside Ballot: If you are unable to enter the polling location but you are still able to drive to the location on election day, you are entitled to curbside voting. After presenting your photo ID, you will be provided with a paper ballot or a way to electronically cast your ballot from your car. For the 2020 election, you are entitled to curbside voting if you have symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Emergency Ballot: If there is a power outage or if electronic voting methods are otherwise rendered unavailable, voting should continue as normal. Follow the instructions of the poll workers.
  • Spoiled Ballot: If you mismark a paper ballot you are entitled to ask for a new one. Additionally, if your electronic ballot malfunctions, you can ask for assistance or a substitute ballot.
  • Challenged Ballot: On election day, your ability to vote may be challenged. If your voter eligibility is challenged, you still have the right to cast a ballot. In the event of a challenged ballot, a poll worker will pull you and the challenger aside to ask questions about voter eligibility. If the poll workers unanimously decide you are eligible to vote, you can cast a regular ballot. If they unanimously rule you are ineligible to vote, you can still cast a ballot but it will be instantly rejected. If they cannot reach a decision, you will fill out a challenged ballot, and they will decide its validity later on.


For your reference:

Serving at the Polls

Posted on: October 29th, 2020 by elpayseu

In this post, Andrew Goodman Foundation Fellow Jenna Santacroce shares several opportunities for students to serve at the polls.

There are more ways to get involved in the upcoming election aside from casting your vote. The Andrew Goodman Foundation Ole Miss Voting Ambassador Team encourages you to consider becoming a poll worker or a poll watcher!

Serving as a Nonpartisan Poll Watcher

If you are a student that wants to contribute to the election but are unable to work the polls in your home county or are not a Mississippi resident, you can participate by becoming a poll watcher.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is recruiting nonpartisan poll watchers to report activity that can threaten or intimidate voters and report barriers that limit accessibility to polling stations. Poll watchers can work in any county, but like poll workers, must receive training first. The final training date is Thursday, October 29th. Afterwards, LDF will be in touch with you about poll station assignments and further instructions about Election Day. 

Registration Link

Sign Up to Be an Official Poll Worker

Mississippi’s Secretary of State, Secretary Michael Watson, is seeking the help of Ole Miss students to COVID-19 has inundated our lives with uncertainty since its emergence nearly one full year ago. Secretary Watson and other Mississippi state officials are determined to prevent the virus from affecting these next four years by ensuring a safe and secure 2020 Presidential election. The state of Mississippi is seeking to hire student poll workers to help keep the election process efficient and to maintain the integrity of our democracy.

Student poll workers may be tasked with a variety of responsibilities. As a student poll worker, some jobs you may be asked to assist with include setting up before the polls open, checking in and assisting voters, cleaning polling stations in between voters, or helping close the polls once they close. 

Mississippi student poll workers must be at least eighteen years of age and a resident of Mississippi. Also, in order to work the polls, you must be a registered voter in the county you will work in on election day. It is a full day commitment and you are required to remain at the polling location for the entire time the polls are open.

To apply, you can complete a short application form found on Mississippi’s Poll Worker Portal. Completing your application does not guarantee that you will be hired, nor does it commit you to participate if you decide not to. By completing your application, your request to participate will be sent to your County Circuit Clerk and Election Commission. If your help is needed, these local election commissioners will contact you directly. If you are selected to become a student poll worker, you will be prompted to complete the required training before you serve on election day. 

MS Secretary of State Poll Worker Portal

Other Opportunities

Here are several other opportunities:

  • UM Campus Shuttles – We need volunteers to assist with shuttle service and check-in on Election Day. Sign up here to volunteer.
  • Contact your local county clerk office and offer help. Local election commissioners may need assistance with setting up the polling locations or delivering personal protective equipment.  

The 2020 Presidential election is one of the most anticipated elections yet. It is increasingly important, especially during the time of this pandemic, for this Presidential election to be safe, secure, and accurate as it will influence our lives for the next four years. Contribute to the 2020 Presidential election by doing more than just casting your ballot – apply to be a student poll worker or watcher! 

For more information about county contacts, voter registration, and voter information, visit the Mississippi Secretary of State’s site, Y’all Vote. To stay up-to-date on Mississippi’s latest election initiatives, follow Mississippi’s Chief Elections Officer Secretary Michael Watson on Facebook and Twitter

For your reference:

Everybody Loves Lincoln: Finding Common Ground on Common Issues

Posted on: October 26th, 2020 by elpayseu

This blog post by OCE Team Leader & Communications Specialist Will Corley is a recap of the Everybody Loves Lincoln event held, Tuesday, October 20th, featuring comedian Tehran Von Ghasri and guest host Jackie Koppell who moderated a panel discussion to explore the debate between defunding the police and defending the blue.  

The topic up for discussion: policing. In the debate of “Defund the Police” v. “Back the Blue,” we brought together a comedian, a data scientist, a police chief, and student activists from both sides of the debate to shed light on their experiences with the other side, the hard facts behind the issues, and possible solutions to the problems we see in policing today. What resulted was a common love for community and a common need for understanding.

During this tumultuous year of pandemic, protests, and murder hornets, it has become the norm to look at extremes and become disheartened. That’s why Tehran Von Ghasri kicked off the dialogue with some light-hearted comedy regarding, well, everything going on this year. 

2020 may not seem like something to joke about, but Von Ghasri broke the tension by highlighting the ways we can all come together through humor. “Left wing, right wing, it’s the same bird,” Von Ghasri said, urging the audience to break away from stereotypes and listen to all perspectives. 

David May, professor and social science research fellow at the University of Mississippi, kicked off the panel discussion with hard numbers regarding police killings across the country and data specific to Mississippi. About 1,000 people are killed every year by police with 50% of those victims being white, 25% being black, and 18% being Latino/Hispanic, and while the percentage of white Americans killed by police is higher than others, 

May says that the number of black Americans killed by police is disproportionate to the black population of the U.S. Mississippi is in the top 10 states when it comes to the rate of police killings proportional to population size.

With this data in mind, host Jackie Koppell, turned to the student activists to discuss what their respective movements intend to achieve. Lauren Moses, senior and president of Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Mississippi, said that Back the Blue intends to support law enforcement and their presence in high-crime areas, and while changes might need to be made, law enforcement is an essential part of the security of our communities.

Sykina Butts, senior and Democracy in Action fellow at Delta State University, believes that funding should be focused on social services in impoverished communities as opposed to more policing. Defund the Police, in her view, means that communities have more resources they need to find jobs or care for children, not a higher police presence.

Jeff McCutchen, chief of the Oxford Police Department, shared his thoughts on Defund the Police, saying that it was “frustrating” from the point of view of the police because of the need he sees for additional police funding. 

“I see what officers are doing on a daily basis and how they are investing back into our community,” Chief McCutchen said. “We need better training, better hiring tactics, more accountability.”

The conversation went on to discuss the role of policing and the role of activism in creating change and peace. All agreed that activism and free speech are essential to our democracy and that being engaged in the electoral process is one of the most effective ways to voice one’s opinion. Also, there was a consensus that there needs to be more accountability in the police system.

You can watch the whole session along with Q & A on our YouTube (Engaged UM) and be on the lookout for future dialogues from Community Engagement.


Statewide Ballot Initiative:  Resolution No. 47

Posted on: October 23rd, 2020 by elpayseu

In this series of posts, UM Voting Ambassadors are previewing what is on the Mississippi ballot, so that you understand the offices, the statewide ballot initiatives, and your choices as you prepare to cast your vote. In this post, Voting Ambassador Jaycee Brown shares about the Resolution No. 47, regarding statewide elected offices, one of three statewide initiatives on the ballot. For those voting out-of-state, please reference our State by State Voting Guide for information on your ballot.


McLemore v. Hosemann, a federal lawsuit filed by four African-Americans on May 30, 2019, challenged the electoral requirement on the grounds that it was racially discriminatory and violated the Voting Rights Act. It aimed to block this law for the 2019 gubernatorial election; however, it was denied. This lawsuit was backed by the National Redistricting Foundation.

The amendment was introduced as House Concurrent Resolution 47 on February 17, 2020 and was passed to be certified for the ballot.

What’s on the Ballot?

House Concurrent Resolution No. 47 aims to remove the election law that requires a candidate for governor or elected state office to receive both the popular vote and the majority vote of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

This is how it’ll appear on the November 3, 2020 ballot:

“This amendment provides that to be elected Governor, or to any other statewide office, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes in the general election. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, then a runoff election shall be held as provided by general law. The requirement of receiving the most votes in a majority of Mississippi House of Representatives districts is removed.”


[] YES

[] NO

It’s important to focus on the last sentence because that’s essentially what you’re voting on.

Marking yes means that you support removing the requirement of receiving the most votes in a majority of Mississippi House of Representatives. You also support the establishment of a runoff election if no candidate receives a majority vote.

Marking no means that you oppose removing the above electoral vote requirement and establishing runoff elections for governor and state offices.

Source: https://ballotpedia.org/Mississippi_Ballot_Measure_2,_Remove_Electoral_Vote_Requirement_and_Establish_Runoffs_for_Gubernatorial_and_State_Office_Elections_Amendment_(2020)

For your reference:

Jaycee Brown

Community Chat – Lawrence Muruako

Posted on: October 23rd, 2020 by elpayseu

“We’re trying to make great health the standard.” -Lawrence Muruako

Lawrence Muruako, founder and director of Operation FitNation, joins Dr. Siracusa for this week’s episode of Community Chats to talk about his passion for making great health the standard. He discussed the inspiration, motivation, and determination behind Operation FitNation, his nonprofit promoting accessible health and wellness in the LOU community and surrounding areas.

Growing up in Holly Springs to Nigerian parents, Muruako has witnessed the effects poverty can have on physical fitness, and upon the passing of his father, a tennis coach and lifelong fitness advocate, he realized he had a passion for serving communities through physical fitness. After obtaining a degree in exercise science at the University of Mississippi and operating a fitness center, he and his wife noticed the need for an accessible wellness program, thus Operation FitNation was underway with the simple mission to “make great health standard.”

In 2015, Operation FitNation kicked off their premiere event, Healthy Halloween, with obstacle courses and games for kids. At the end, they received a treat bag of healthier snacks like granola bars and fruit as opposed to typical Halloween candy, a sight that Lawrence loves to see.

“When you see a kid eating an apple instead of a Reese’s on Halloween, and you see them with the biggest smile…that is so rewarding to me,” Lawrence said.

Since then, Operation FitNation has continued providing fun, physical activities for all kids in as many communities as they can. They have expanded their programming to include Fit Camps with after-school programs, Fit Carnivals in the spring, and their newest initiative, Operation One Miler, aimed at promoting a love for exercise while following safety guidelines around COVID-19.

As a final message, Muruako said, “We want people to lead by example by being the example because you never know who you can impact.” He says that when adults lead by example, those kids who look up to them will follow that example. He encourages everyone to lead the most healthy life they can.

You can watch or listen to this episode on our Facebook page and YouTube channel as well as your favorite podcast provider. For more information on Operation FitNation, you can visit their website operationfitnation.org or email them at operationfitnation@gmail.com.


Download the full PDF transcript.

Watch on YouTube

Listen on Anchor

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Statewide Ballot Initiatives: Medical Marijuana Initiative 65

Posted on: October 22nd, 2020 by elpayseu

In this series of posts, UM Voting Ambassadors are previewing what is on the Mississippi ballot, so that you understand the offices, the statewide ballot initiatives, and your choices as you prepare to cast your vote. In this post, Voting Ambassador Katelyn Winstead shares about the MS Ballot Initiative 65 and Alternative Measure 65A, regarding medical marijuana, one of three statewide initiatives on the ballot. For those voting out-of-state, please reference our State by State Voting Guide for information on your ballot.

Initiative 65 is a citizen-sponsored initiative designed to legalize marijuana for those with “debilitating illnesses” by amending the state constitution. Initiative 65A is an alternative initiative offered by the legislature, with many of the specifics to be worked out later. These options can be confusing for voters, so here is a breakdown of the alternative proposals.

So, what is the difference between Initiative 65 and 65A?

Initiative 65 – Less Restrictive

Both initiatives, if passed, will procure an amendment of the Mississippi State Constitution to legalize medical marijuana. The main difference between the two are the specifications laid out. Initiative 65 will allow patients to attain medical marijuana if they have one of the 22 stated qualifying conditions; patients would be able to have up to 2.5 oz at a time and the sales tax on medical marijuana will be in accordance with the state sales tax which is, as of 2020, 7%. Initiative 65 is projected to collect at least a few million dollars in revenue after assessing the first-year implementation costs. The initiative also states that the Mississippi Department of Health will oversee the medical marijuana program.

Initiative 65A – More Restrictive

Alternative 65A does not specify the qualifying conditions of patients, the limits of possession, tax percentage, nor the fiscal impact that it would have on the state. Alternative 65A does provide zoning laws, prohibiting any medical marijuana treatment center from being within 500 ft. of schools, churches, or child-care establishments. The alternative measure does not give any details as to who would oversee the program but affords that it will be administered under an appropriate state agency. Under 65A, smoking medical marijuana would be limited to only those patients who are terminally ill. If alternative measure 65A is passed, legislatures will have to put in a lot of work to narrow the specifications of the initiative and provide concrete regulations and procedures.

Provision Initiative 65 Alternative 65A
Number of qualifying conditions 22 specified; more may be established at a later date none specified
Possession limits 2.5 ounces at once none specified
Ability to smoke marijuana prohibited in public places restricted to terminally ill patients
Taxes on marijuana sales taxed at state sales tax rate (7% as of 2020) no tax rate specified
Cost for medical marijuana patient ID cards capped at $50 no cost specified
Administrating agency Mississippi Department of Health not specified
Deadline for medical marijuana cards to be issued August 15, 2021 no date specified

(Source: Ballotpedia, 10/22/2020)

What should I expect to see on the ballot?


(Source: Mississippi Today, 10/22/20)

On the ballot, you will see that you can first check either Initiative 65 or 65A or against both of the initiatives. If you are for Initiative 65, you will check the box that says either and then select the FOR Initiative 65 box. If you are for initiative 65A you will do the same thing, except you will select FOR Alternative Measure 65A after selecting either. If you are against the passage of both Initiative 65 and 65A, then you will simply select the AGAINST BOTH option.

For a comprehensive analysis of Initiative 65 and 65A, including arguments for each, fiscal analysis, and more check out:

For your reference:

Katelyn Winstead

Katelyn Winstead

UM Voting Ambassadors Virtual Office Hours 10/19-10/23

Posted on: October 20th, 2020 by elpayseu

Prepare to Vote in Election 2020 – National, State, and Local Elections! Our UM Voting Ambassador team is here to help you navigate the voting process, whether you are registered here in Lafayette County or in your hometown/state. We can also walk you through what you need to know for absentee voting and to prepare for in-person voting on Election Day!

No pre-registration is required. Simply click on the timeslot below to access the Zoom link for drop-in hours with our VA team.

Focus: Absentee Ballots & Notary Services (MS or Out of State)
MS Absentee Ballots now available, thru 11/3/20.

Monday, 10/19

10:00 – 11:00    VA: Maggie

1:00 – 2:00         VA: Eric

Tuesday, 10/20

8:00 – 9:00       VA: Morgan

Wednesday, 10/21

11:00 – 12:00    VA: Nick

1:00 – 2:00         VA: Clinton

 Thursday, 10/22

10:00 – 11:00   VA: Katelyn

1:00 – 2:00         VA: Libby

Friday, 10/23

4:00 – 5:00         VA: Madeleine


Need other assistance, have technical issues, or want to schedule a one-on-one appointment? Email us at engaged@olemiss.edu.

For your reference:


Statewide Ballot Initiatives: State Flag

Posted on: October 20th, 2020 by elpayseu

In the coming posts, UM Voting Ambassadors will be previewing what is on the Mississippi ballot, so that you understand the offices, the statewide ballot initiatives, and your choices as you prepare to cast your vote. In this post, Voting Ambassador Nick Castellanos shares about the state flag referendum, one of three statewide initiatives on the ballot. For those voting out-of-state, please reference our State by State Voting Guide for information on your ballot.

History and Process

In June 2020, House Bill 1796 removed the former state flag, which was first instituted in 1894, 29 years after the civil war ended. The former state flag featured a smaller version of the confederate flag in the upper left corner, which eventually led to its removal in June of 2020. <Read more about the removal of the state flag here>

Criteria and Selection

Following House Bill 1796, a Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag was formed, which fielded designs from the public as long as they met the following criteria:
● Simple enough for a child to draw from memory
● Use meaningful symbolism
● Use two or three basic colors
● Be distinctive

The bill stated that:
“The new design for the Mississippi State Flag shall honor the past while embracing the promise of the future.”

The Ballot

The commission narrowed down 3,000 submissions to the following design, which will appear on the ballot like so:

Mississippi State Flag Design

Mississippi State Flag Design

Please vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on whether the following design shall be the official Mississippi State Flag

[ ] YES
[ ] NO

It is important to note that the referendum on the ballot does not involve reinstating the former state flag. If the referendum is voted down on election day, Nov 3rd, the commission will select another flag design, which will be voted on in 2021.

For your reference:

Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos

OCE Agency Profile – Operation Fit Nation

Posted on: October 19th, 2020 by elpayseu

By Jilkiah Bryant, OCE Area Coordinator for Health & Wellness

Mississippi is among the top states in the nation when it comes to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but local nonprofit Operation FitNation is fighting to change that by advocating for optimal community health throughout Mississippi. 

Founded and operated by Lawrence Muruako in 2008, Operation FitNation stems from a passion for impact through the celebration of life in those communities that need it most. “At some point, I had to ask myself, what about the people who cannot afford to pay for a gym membership or pay for a personal trainer?” says Lawrence on starting the organization. “I wanted to affect those people and impact their lives, I wanted to empower them.” 

Their mission is to help create a standard of great health in poverty-stricken and poor health communities by harnessing the power of healthier behavior. Operation FitNation sets out to improve people’s health by inspiring them to become the best version of themselves.

Operation FitNation provides wellness resources, opportunities, and wellness education programs to individuals of at-risk populations while creating a fun-loving experience. “There’s a huge need for healthy living,” Lawrence says. “This opportunity hasn’t changed my perspective, it has enhanced my perspective and approach to what it means to serve others and these communities.” 

Programs like their FIT Camps, Healthy Halloween, Fit Carnival, and the Right Track program engage and educate kids through a fitness-based social experience. They deliver community wellness events, media campaigns, and a multitude of online resources and also partner with local organizations, businesses, and individuals that support and are passionate about community wellness. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation FitNation has started a new program, Operation One Miler, to continue motivating communities to engage in healthy behavior. Having already held events in Lafayette, Panola, and Tallahatchie counties, Operation FitNation plans to continue extending their impact to Marshall, Desoto, Quitman, Coahoma, and Yalobusha counties in the future.

Jilkiah Bryant

Jilkiah Bryant

For more information about Operation FitNation, or if you are interested in getting involved, you can email them at operationfitnation@gmail.com or visit their website https://www.operationfitnation.org/

UM Faculty and Students Lead Voter Engagement Efforts

Posted on: October 19th, 2020 by elpayseu

This blog post is a recap of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) Faculty Lunch & Learn session on 10/12/2020.

Dr. Na Youn Lee, Prof. Amy Fisher, and Ms. Patricia Digby along with panelists Tanya Rhodes Smith, Austin Conner, and Jaycee Brown, joined us for the second session in our Faculty Lunch & Learn series on October 12 to discuss the impact of the Voter Empowerment Project, a student-led research project to increase voter participation in rural communities while also giving social work students hands-on, educational experiences in the field.

Created in 2019, the Voter Empowerment Project (VEP) partners with local and nationwide organizations like MS Votes to assess voter needs and barriers to voting, a large part of the reason some people neglect their right to vote. “The practice of voting is very complex,” says Smith, co-founder of the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign. “These systemic barriers create and reinforce engagement barriers.” These barriers create attitudes within communities that voting is practically useless. Projects like the Mobilization Campaign and the VEP are aimed at identifying and addressing these barriers.

In partnership with the Mobilization Campaign, the VEP trains social work students on the importance of voting and voter engagement, especially in the framework of the social work profession. Before, according to our panelists, voting engagement had not been a central focus in the social work profession, but the Voter Empowerment Project is just one of many rising efforts to bring attention to the importance of voter engagement in social work.

Fisher, associate professor of social work at the University of Mississippi, describes the three levels of social work focus: micro, mezzo, and macro. She explains that the VEP is simultaneously working at both the micro and macro levels of social work. While the project is intervening at the community level, there is also the central question of how to get the individual to the polls despite these barriers

To find engagement barriers, participants like Conner, a doctoral social work student, went into communities on election day in 2018 and evaluated polling locations in different areas. Students conducted a needs assessment within rural and nonrural communities to compare the barriers that Smith discussed and found a real need for accessible voting policies.

Dr. Lee, assistant professor of social work at the University of Mississippi, says that the VEP created an almost immediate increase in voter awareness, at least in the preliminary evaluation stage. Among social work students, this project had already begun to change attitudes toward voter engagement as social work and voter engagement as a whole. “They never thought about voting as part of the social work mission,” says Lee, “It was very overly positive.” Other analysis and evaluation is still ongoing, but this trend is an exciting one for both Lee and Fisher as political advocacy becomes a more prominent focus of social work across the country.

If you would like to watch the entire session, it is available on our YouTube channel, and be on the lookout for our next Lunch & Learn session coming soon.