August 9th – 15th marks National Health Center Week, a week recognizing our nation’s Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Housing Health Centers. National Health Center Week has been celebrated for more than 30 years, and celebrates the contributions of the more than 9,000 community health centers nationwide that provide free and reduced cost medical care to more than 23 million patients every year. Community health centers are often rooted in many of our country’s neighborhoods most in need. Nonprofit VOTE is celebrating National Health Center week by encouraging every community health center to consider strategies to register and turn out their patients to vote in this year’s fall elections.
Nonprofit VOTE is the leading sponsor of Community Health Vote. Founded in 2008 by the National Association of Community Health Centers, Community Health Vote is an effort to register and turn out community health center patients. Many of the individuals and families engaged through Community Health Vote live in communities traditionally underrepresented in voting and the political process. Our vision for Community Health Vote is to transform politics and the political discourse in our country by engaging patients of community health centers in voting.
In 2012 and 2014, Community Health Vote registered thousands to vote and engaged many more in get-out-the-vote and voter education efforts. And the results speak for themselves – in 2012 Community Health Vote voters turned out at a rate of 75%, 7 percentage points higher than their counterparts in the general population. Patients of community health centers were 4.4 times more likely to be Hispanic, 3.2 times more likely to be lower-income and 3 times more likely to be black than the general public.
One great opportunity to celebrate National Health Center week is to set up a voter registration table in the lobby or waiting room of a community health center, and this year Community Health Vote released two new resources to support your efforts. The first is an Active Tabling Factsheet that includes practical tips and strategies to help you ensure your tabling activities are effective and productive. We’ve also unveiled this year a HIPAA Factsheet detailing how community health centers can stay compliant to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) while doing voter registration efforts.
We hope you find these resources helpful as you plan your voter registration activities during National Health Center week and beyond. Happy tabling!