The League of Women Voters of Oakland started the Reentry Task Force, whose mission is to create opportunities for formerly-incarcerated individuals to learn about their voting rights and become engaged in the election process through their own efforts. The League’s work with the re-entry community began with the Capacity Building Grant from the Probation Department.
Task Force members work with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) who serve the re-entry population. We provide League information to CBOs year-round, and, before elections, plan to offer training on presenting the Pros and Cons of ballot measures and the mechanics of voting . The Task Force recently developed a new flier YOUR VOTE, YOUR VOICE in English and Spanish targeted to formerly-incarcerated individuals. Get involved! Contact Elaine Ginnold at email@example.com.
Reentry Task Force Goals: 2019-2020
- Engage underserved communities: The Oakland League has considerable resources in the form of publications and in the civic engagement expertise of its members. The Reentry Task Force uses these resources to engage underserved Oakland communities such as the reentry community. The engagement starts by working with Community Based Organizations that serve people who are reentering the community from the carceral system. Members of the Task Force work year round to meet with reentry CBOs to explain peer to peer training options and provide them with voter registration forms and League publications, such as Who Represents Oakland, and Reentry Fliers (developed specifically for this population). Before the 2020 elections, task force members will distribute the Easy Voter Guide and VotersEdge bookmarks to the CBOs and arrange peer to peer training for CBO staff and clients on topics such as the Pros and Cons of ballot measures and the mechanics of voting.
- Diversify the League: The work of the task force has the potential of helping to diversify the league.The Reentry Task Force operates year round to provide a tangible service that helps meet the need of reentry individuals for civic engagement. People with an interest in supporting those who are reentering the community from the carceral system are attracted to the League’s interest in reentry and join the League to help with this work. Use Julie Lo’s research reported in Towards Broader, Stronger, Community Bonds June 2019 | Research Committee Demographic Data Report.
- Increase awareness of LWVO. The Reentry Task Force has developed a flier (the Reentry Flier) that explains the voting rights of individuals who are reentering the community. It is an attractive red, white and blue flier branded with the LWVO logo. Task force members distribute the flier to all reentry CBOs and the Alameda County Probation Dept. Berkeley Indivisible is also distributing our fliers to the organizations with which they work. The wide distribution of these fliers will help increase awareness of LWVO.
LWVO Reentry-Task Force Activities
• Distribute voter registration forms and voter education materials to re-entry CBOs year round: Examples of League information include publications such as: the brochure Who Represents Oakland, Voters Edge bookmarks, and the new flier, Your Vote, Your Voice.
• Provide information about current election: Before elections, offer to make presentations at CBO re-entry community events about voting, the pros and cons of ballot measures, and ranked choice voting. Distribute the League’s Easy Voter Guide. Discuss issues such as the importance of voting; reasons for voting; the social impact when people don’t vote.
• Offer training in the mechanics of voting to include: how to mark a ballot, understanding voting instructions, what to expect at the polls, Ranked Choice Voting, and Voting by Mail.
• Train formerly-incarcerated individuals to provide information about voting and the pros and cons of ballot measures to peers in their organizations.
• Register voters and provide election information at events that are sponsored by or attended by re-entry organizations and CBO representatives.