By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Report for America Corps Member.
Advocacy organizations are feverishly working to equip voters with the information necessary to be efficient and effective voters this year. Noticeably making change on the grassroots level are the women of Black Girls Vote (BGV).
Less than two weeks remain ahead of Election Day on Nov. 8. and BGV representatives are meeting residents in community spaces across Baltimore to encourage the Black vote amongst men and women.
BGV is a nonpartisan organization created to represent the concerns and interests of Black women. They invest in empowering Black women to advance economic development, education and healthcare.
Throughout its existence, BGV has encouraged young women and girls to become a voice in the political landscape through the power of the vote. This month, the AFRO caught up with five members of the organization as they registered voters and answered questions about the voting process at Freedom Temple A.M.E. Zion Church in South Baltimore. Below are three things BGV would like to encourage all eligible voters to do ahead of Election Day:
Do the research, and know the platforms
Black Girls Vote believes it is vital for voters to know who they are voting for and what they are voting on. They suggest voters do the research before Election Day so they can make informed decisions and weigh in on topics with background information in mind.
“It is imperative we get out and vote so we don’t go backward,” said Sherry Adams, BGV outreach lead. “Citizens should know that voting is for the people.”
Adams recommends researching the questions that will appear on the ballot before voting. Several questions this year could significantly impact policy for elected offices in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Questions on the Baltimore City ballot address term limits for a number of city government positions. Voters across the state will also weigh in on the legalization of recreational marijuana for those 21 and up.
“The governor is like the president of Maryland,” said Anastasia Lowery, a BGV volunteer and election judge. “If you have issues in Maryland, you need to be aware of who you’re voting for because your governor, mayor and state’s attorney are your first line of defense.”
Become an election judge
BGV representatives highlighted the shortage of judges Baltimore City is experiencing in this election season. Judges help the voting process run smoothly and are crucial to the election process.
“We need voting, check-in, provisional ballot and chief judges,” said Lowery. “There is a shortage, and that’s why we have had to combine precincts.”
The Baltimore City Board of Elections is still looking for judges and offers $200 – $275 for those who apply.
Applicants must be at least 16 or older, be a registered voter in Maryland and be able to speak, read and write the English language.
Register to vote– it’s not too late
Lowery made it known that eligible voters who have yet to register “should not be deterred” from participating.
Eligible voters– including residents who just turned 18 years old– can register on the same day at the polls.
Those eligible should show up at their local voting center with an identification card and a document confirming proof of residence. Proof of residence items includes bank statements, paychecks and utility bills.
“Voting sites are linked with the MVA, so we can scan the back of your ID and get you registered right then,” said Lowery. “If you’re at the wrong polling place, we can redirect you to the proper location.”
Those eligible but not registered can vote during early voting alongside registered voters.
Early Voting will be held from Oct. 27, 2022, through Nov. 3, 2022. Early voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
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