Common Questions from Social Work Colleagues
Colleagues and leadership have a range of reactions to using the Healthy Democracy Kit and registering people to vote. Below are some of the common examples and potential responses to their concerns. You can also use the handout to explain more about Vot-ER and the role agencies can play in civic engagement.
I am way too busy to help people register to vote, I bet you are too; why do they want us to do this?
With the Vot-ER lanyard, I have just been directing my patients to the Vot-ER online voter registration website. They actually have a live person and a helpline that the patient can use if they get stuck. I have not had to sit down with any patient and help register them to vote; the platform takes care of that part. I am mainly a billboard and it takes me less than 10 seconds to show my patients the badge backer and let them get to the website.
What’s up with your lanyard?
Great question. I’m working with an organization called Vot-ER that is working to help patients vote in the upcoming election in a safe and healthy way. They can use their phone to check their voter registration and request a ballot to vote from home. I’d love to help you sign up for a Healthy Democracy kit, too – are you interested?
Why is it our responsibility to help others to vote?
We both have cared for patients whose primary issue was not medical. The social determinants of health are largely set by local, state, and national decisions and leaders. I view it as part of my professional responsibility to include patient voices in those decisions. It will make your and my lives easier if people had the resources they need and we could focus on their health care.
Isn’t this partisan?
My goal is to help patients use their voice. Vot-ER is a nonpartisan organization, and our goal is simply to help patients register to vote. If a patient starts discussing partisan topics, I don’t engage with them and instead discuss the importance of voting participation for all citizens.
Do clients get upset with you?
That doesn’t typically happen. Actually, most patients have been happy to have the opportunity to exercise their voice. Of course, if they choose not to register, I respect that decision and don’t pressure them.