Thursday, October 30, 2008

Voter Protection / Apoyo para Votantes

The Election Protection Coalition has coordinated the largest voter protection and education program in the nation's history. If you have ANY problems with voting (no problem is too small!), you can call their hotline to talk to a trained volunteer and get answers to all your voting questions and support if something goes wrong.

The Election Protection Coalition ha coordinado el programa de protección y educación más grande para votantes en la historia de este país. Si tiene problemas el día de las elecciones, ¡llama directamente a la línea de apoyo para votantes! No hay problema demasiado pequeño para ser atendido. Tiene apoyo -- ¡Llama ahora!

In English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)

En español: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682)

For more information/para más información:

Note: The 866-OUR-VOTE hotline is administered by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. La
línea 888-VE-Y-VOTA es administrada por the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One working mom weighs in…

As I sit here at my desk, eyes burning red from strain of staring at this computer, fall allergies causing my head to swell and ache, 3 moderately well tempered children entertaining themselves in the other room, I’m thinking and feeling like I’ve some how lost myself in all this election craze. I have with colleagues from work, fellow community organizers, activists and varieties of “concerned citizens” participated in a range of Election Connection Outreach activities. I have registered voters, trained numerous volunteers to do the same. I have passed out voter education materials explaining everything from voter ID laws to how to find and understand a sample ballot. I have called more folks than I ever would want to be in touch with, (as I am really not a phone person, I’m still riddled over the fact that you can get cancer right in your cranium for talking on the darned cell for too long, Not to mention my own family is lucky to hear from me every blue moon, my voice live and in person for them to choke a surprised “hey to” out of their throats, anyway I digress)… encouraging the masses to go vote; vote early, vote absentee, vote on the 4th, vote in advance, but for God’s love GO VOTE!

Today I’m trying to figure out if I have done myself and you, the beloved object of my Election Connection obsession, any good deed. Did I even help to make a change in this “historic” election season? Will my efforts be counted as “part of history”? Well you see it’s not that I’m looking to have my name recorded in the history books, though I think my home schooled daughter would find that rather kool, she certainly made enough of a personal contribution of time, paper cut fingers and unwanted guest appearances at every pro-vote activity in Metro Atlanta. But like I said it’s not the recognition I seek, it’s really knowing my efforts made a difference in the life of a disenfranchised person. Then I thought, do I even need to look outside of myself to evaluate my own effectiveness?

When have my issues been uplifted in any of the debates promoted more heavily and in quite the same fashion as the MTV or BET Awards shows I don’t have the time and can’t afford the cable (bill) to watch? I have heard no one, NO ONE speak about the need for family flexibility policies so that this hard working, civically involved mom can take time from a hectic schedule of organizing the disenfranchised, on behalf of the electoral process to actually go and vote! Yes, yes, I know I have 2 hours with which to “make my voice known” and I am blessed (not lucky, BLESSED) to have a job that informs and educates me about my rights, but what about the masses of other women out there, blessed only to be alive during these “historic times”? Sure my efforts have touched many, but I dare say luck has not made a long term visit at their crib for many a moon. What about them? They are registered, with polling places confirmed, rides to the polls set up, and not a clue about who to vote for or why? Not one tangible piece of evidence that their vote will insure the passing of crucial (local) legislation such as the Georgia Minimum Wage Bill or the Parent Protection Act or uplift the need for national recognition of issues surrounding workplace equality, and social-economic equity. Who are the candidates really and why aren’t they talking about what they are really going to do to positively and productively enhance my life, my financial outlook and guarantee the promise of a healthy future for my children? Certainly they (my children) gave enough (of me) to have me wonder why aren’t the issues really being discussed. And I don’t mean discussed amongst the “enfranchised” voting elite, but why aren’t those in power calling me at home between 5pm – 9pm begging for my opinion on this catastrophe of and economy they created and I work like a slave (yes I said it) to bail out! When will someone stop trying to make me feel like its all too complicated for me to understand, while ensuring me that they are acting now (have always) and have every intentions to act after November 4th on my best behalf. They need to be asking me about “how I can pay a car note, pay rent, purchase food and buy gas every month, not to mention household items, seasonal clothing for both of my children, and even rent a movie every once in a while. I manage to take my children to culturally engaging events and activities, support a variety of social justice causes with time (&YES money), and visit my mother twice a month in a nursing home in Macon (not by my choice, that’s our great Healthcare system not working for working families such as mine) where she convalesces from a massive stroke and aneurism that devastated her, my brother, myself and my two small children almost 3 years ago now. How do I do it? What’s my secret, and am I willing to accept a cabinet post to help the rest of the country do it, balance their damn checkbooks and live within their means?

Well, that may be going too far, I like my job, my little townhouse and my life here in Atlanta, Georgia, but my point is until I see, hear, taste and smell more [dialogs] that reflect my reality, I’m not really moved. I’m not at all inspired. I haven’t yet, but will go vote. I intended to go today, but I had work to do. And I will continue to motivate the masses, but I am hoping many will join me and say “WHAT ABOUT US REALLY?” And the only reason why any of this election stuff matters is because I matter. I am working like a slave (again, if I wanna claim that ancestral heritage bond I feel deep in my soul and see reflected in every face in my community) and now you greedy massa’s want the chitt’lins for yourselves too!

In solidarity,

Shyria C.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do you know how to vote in Georgia?

There are multiple ways to cast your ballot in Georgia. Which way is right for you?

Your first option is to vote at your polling place on Election Day. After you registered to vote, you should have been sent a voter registration card, which tells you where your polling place is located. If you have lost your card or do not know where to vote, check your polling location here. At your polling place, you will complete a voter certificate, which asks your name and address. You must present an accepted form of photo identification (see the list of approved IDs below) to the poll officials before casting your ballot.

However, voters are expected to turn out in record numbers in Georgia on Election Day, so we recommend that you vote early or in advance. Early voting allows you to cast your ballot in person, weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Early voting began Monday, September 22, and ends Friday, October 24. Advance voting allows any registered voter to cast a ballot in person Monday through Friday of the week prior to the election. This year, advance voting will be held October 27-31. You will need to bring a photo identification to vote early or in advance (see list below for approved IDs). To check your early and advance voting locations, please click here.

Note: you cannot vote on the Monday right before the Tuesday election.

What are Georgia voter identification requirements?

Georgia law requires that you bring a photo ID when you vote in person. Bring one of these six forms of identification to vote:
1. a Georgia driver's license, even if expired
2. A valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including one issued by the Dept. of Driver Services or your county registrar's office
3. a valid U.S. passport
4. a valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state
5. a valid U.S. military photo ID
6. a valid tribal photo ID

Can I look at the ballot before I go to vote?

Yes! You can request a sample ballot from your county Board of Elections office. Sample ballots contain important information, so it will not be unfamiliar to you when you go to vote. Save time on Election Day by reviewing your sample ballot to research candidates and resolutions, and mark your choices before going to your polling place.

What if I need assistance at the polling place?

A voter may receive assistance at the polls if they are unable to read the English language or have a physical disability that renders them unable to see or mark the ballot, operate voting equipment, or enter the voting booth. If you need assistance, please contact your county registrar's office.

Who can I contact with further questions about voting in Georgia?

GA Secretary of State, Elections Division
404-656-1787 (for hearing- or speech-impaired)
888-265-1115 (toll-free)

League of Women Voters (Atlanta)

Note: If you would like to contact your county Board of Elections office and do not know how to reach them, please contact the Atlanta 9to5 office at 404-222-0037 and we will give you this information.

Who should I vote for?

9to5 is a non-partisan organization and we do not endorse any candidate for political office. We recommend that you visit one or more of the following websites for non-partisan information about the candidates, or you can download the 9to5 Election Connection Voter Guide here.

Project Vote Smart
Declare Yourself
League of Women Voters
Vote Gopher

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th. Make sure to vote as soon as possible! Call the Atlanta 9to5 office at 404-222-0037 if you have any more questions about voting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: Vote to end poverty on November 4th!

The 2008 election is shaping up to be one of the most important in this nation's history. The candidates are talking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising fuel costs, education, healthcare, and a stagnating economy. The decisions that will be made to solve these and many other problems will directly affect America's low wage workers -- those living paycheck to paycheck, those struggling to put gas in their cars, and those who want to make sure that their kids stay in school, but who can't take time off work to take them to the doctor or even to enroll them in classes.

That's why it's essential that working women head to the polls and cast their ballots this November 4th. Your opinions matter!

During the last few months, 9to5 staff and volunteers have been distributing Election Connection Voter Guides, helping working women learn more about the issues that are important to them in this election. While the candidates are out debating and campaigning, you can use this guide to help you determine where the candidates stand on these crucial issues. If you would like to download a copy of this voter guide, please click here.

By acting together, working women have the power to determine the outcome of elections -- and to forge new public and workplace policies. Let the candidates know how you feel about the following issues!

What do working women value?

We value work-family flexibility and vote for politicians who support basic labor standards to ensure a family-friendly workplace. Working women need more accessible and affordable family and medical leave, including paid family leave insurance.

We value equal opportunity. We vote for politicians who support an end to all forms of discrimination in the workplace. Low-wage women will never be able to pull themselves out of poverty until they earn a fair wage for the work they do.

We value family-supporting jobs and an end to poverty. We vote for politicians who recognize the dignity of all people and the right to a higher quality of life for working families. Working women deserve strong safety net policies that support families as they transition from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

Tell us: What issues matter most to you as a working woman in this election?

Welcome to the Atlanta 9to5 Blog!

October 15th has finally arrived! Today is Blog Action Day and also the launch of the Atlanta 9to5 blog! If you have any questions about the blog, we'll answer them here...

What will you write about on the Atlanta 9to5 blog?
We will write about issues that matter to you! Because of the upcoming election, the focus of our initial posts will be our Election Connection Campaign. Then, we'll start posting twice weekly about many other issues that are important to you, such as maternity leave, FMLA coverage, sexual harassment, and the work done by the Georgia Minimum Wage Coalition and the Georgia Job/Family Collaborative. We're always open to suggestions if you'd like us to write about something you care about!

Who writes blog entries?
For now, the Atlanta 9to5 blog will be written by staff, interns, volunteers, and board members. However, its main purpose is to foster conversation among working women. We want you, our members and activists, to use the blog as a forum for conversation by commenting on posts, sharing ideas, and making your voice heard.

How can I get involved?
It's easy! Anyone can comment on posts, either by choosing the "name/URL" option and entering a name you would like to be identified by, or by posting anonymously. If you have any technical questions about using the website, please don't hesitate to contact the Atlanta 9to5 office at 404-222-0037.

Don't forget to check back later this afternoon for our Blog Action Day post!