A New Way of Life leads LA voter registration efforts in county jails
LOS ANGELES (February 12, 2018) – A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) will sponsor voter registration training in Los Angeles on February 13, as part of an effort to educate would-be voters and increase voting propensity among people of color in South Los Angeles — as well as to educate people with prior convictions, or who are currently in jail or on probation, about their right to vote.
A New Way of Life’s voter registration effort is in conjunction with the African American Civic Engagement Project (AACEP), which is comprised of more than 150 leaders from 12 California social justice groups, and has been in place since prior to the 2016 primary elections. However, A New Way of Life has been involved in voter education efforts for voters in the communities of South LA, Compton, Pomona and Long Beach since 2008. Educational efforts have included Proposition 47, AB 1008, Los Angeles Fair Chance Employment Ordinance and Measure M and Measure H housing ordinances.
All of Us or None Southern California, A New Way of Life’s advocacy organization for formerly incarcerated individuals and supporters, will lead the voter registration workshop on Tuesday with the LA County Registrar-Recorder’s office providing the training required for volunteers to do voter registration inside a jail. Volunteers must seek clearance to enter each correctional facility.
“Politicians research who’s voting for them. If they can see that a community doesn’t turn out to vote, they’re far less likely to listen to, or even be aware of, that community’s needs,” says Ingrid Archie, ANWOL’s civic engagement and Prop 47 specialist. “Our desire is to help the African American community understand that our vote counts. We want to cut through the misinformation that’s out there and let people with conviction histories know that they can vote too. Voting is our tool, but often, people become disenfranchised without even knowing it.”
ANWOL believes that some of the most disenfranchised people are those who are currently in jail or who have prior convictions. Because of confusion regarding who can and cannot vote — in California, those who are in jail or on probation may vote, while those who are in state or federal prison or on parole may not — many people with current or past convictions don’t even bother to register. There are an estimated 16,000-18,000 people being held in Los Angeles County jails who are eligible to vote, but many of them are unaware of their right to do so.
Over a two-week period leading up to the November 2016 general election, ANWOL volunteers went into Twin Towers Correctional Facility, Century Regional Detention Facility (Lynwood) and Men’s Central Jail and registered 1,100 individuals to vote. The LA County Recorder’s Office captured nearly 700 of these registrants and documented that nearly 600 of these actually voted.
“This is a clear indication that incarcerated folk and formerly incarcerated folk, contrary to stigmatization, not only desire but will exercise their civic duty when properly and duly informed,” says Larry Foy, policy director at A New Way of Life.
ANWOL and All of Us or None’s voter registration training will be held at Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), 10950 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, 90059, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on February 13. Voter registration efforts inside Los Angeles county jails will begin in May. If you would like to get involved in A New Way of Life’s civic engagement initiatives, please contact Ingrid Archie at email@example.com.
About A New Way of Life
In 1998, Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) dedicated to helping women, families, and communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL advances multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration, including (1) providing housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification, and individual healing; (2) working to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people; and (3) empowering, organizing, and mobilizing formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.
A New Way of Life envisions a world where every person can make decisions for his/her own life, is accountable for those decisions, and is valued as a contributing member of the community. ANWOL has been a driving force in considerable policy reforms, including the ban-the-box ordinances and the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47), a historic measure to reverse decades of antiquated approaches to community safety and justice, properly redirecting costly prison construction and management resources to education, re-entry, and victims’ services.
About All Of Us Or None
Co-founded by Susan Burton and other formerly incarcerated individuals, All of Us or None (AOUON) is a national grassroots community organizing effort that works to reverse all discriminatory policies and practices affecting formerly incarcerated individuals. ANWOL is the fiscal agent of the Los Angeles and Long Beach Chapters, which together form the Southern California Chapter of All of Us or None (AOUON-SC).