Minneapolis Receives National Award for its Work to Increase Voter Access and Diversify Election Worker Hiring

Minneapolis receives national award for its work to increase voter access and diversify election worker hiring
Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services 

As part of its 2016 Professional Practices Program, the National Association of Election Officials (commonly known as the “Election Center”), presented the City of Minneapolis with its Stars & Stripes Award in recognition of the City’s work to increase voter access and to diversify its corps of election workers through a partnership with Media Active (Intermedia Arts). The award recognized the new election judge recruitment video produced for the City’s Elections & Voter Services by a team of teenage artists through the Media Active program sponsored by Intermedia Arts.

Stars & Stripes Award 2016

Media Active provided a five-minute feature video called "Change the Routine" and three 15-second videos, all available in English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish. Those videos are currently airing on the City’s public access cable channel and are also available via the City’s YouTube channel:

Amal Flower Kay and Aaron Rogers, the young artists who produced the video, were provided training and technical support through the Media Active program, which is a job-training initiative for at-risk youth. The program gives these young artists a variety of projects so that they can gain professional experience, develop job-related skills, and earn money. Elections & Voter Services did not yet have a specific strategy to leverage multimedia in the recruitment of election judges and was intrigued by the opportunity to partner with young adults on developing new ways to connect with potential workers, especially in relation to youth awareness of, and interest in the work of government and the electoral process. The opportunity to work with a group that not only understands the diversity of our city but actively pursues civic engagement to “break down barriers” would prove to be the perfect partnership.

As the 46th largest municipality in the nation, Minneapolis has a diverse and growing population, estimated at approximately 412,000 residents, many of whom represent diverse communities, including large populations from Asian-Pacific, East African, and Latino backgrounds. Although not federally required, the State of Minnesota—and the City of Minneapolis—proactively provides translations of election-related documents and materials. In preparation for the 2016 Presidential Election, the City’s Elections & Voter Services Division had identified a goal of recruiting election judges to better reflect the communities being served, including election judges with secondary language skills to provide voter assistance at the polls. The ultimate goal being that every polling location reflects the community it serves. Toward that end, the partnership with Media Active focused on recruiting election judges—especially from underrepresented communities—as part of a larger campaign focused on enhancing civic literacy.

In addition to the videos, Media Active provided memes, character photos, posters, and business cards to be used in connection with the “Change the Routine” brand (and hashtag) for election-related outreach, education, and engagement initiatives. Many of the video stills and character photos were developed as posters displayed at the City’s Early Vote Center.

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