WHY VOTING IS SOCIAL WORK
There is an important relationship between individual and community well-being and the practice of voting. Voting is an essential responsibility of citizenship and is pivotal to the health of our democracy. When people vote, there are benefits to themselves and their communities, including higher levels of civic participation, stronger connections within communities and better outcomes for the individual voters themselves, including improved health, social connections, mental health and overall well-being. The groups most underrepresented among voters include young people, people of color and low-income populations—groups to which social workers often have direct access.
Unfortunately, the consequences of giving up political power are great. Elected officials pay attention to voters and may disregard the needs of communities that are less likely to vote. A decrease in voting by one group also increases the political power of those who are participating. Despite social work’s Code of Ethics which calls for the empowerment of clients, political power is often an overlooked indicator of self-actualization and community health.
GOAL: The goal of the Voter Empowerment Campaign is for all social workers to embrace nonpartisan voter engagement as part of their professional responsibilities and practice, regardless of setting.
COLLABORATORS: The Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) and Influencing Social Policy (ISP) and the Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work are leading a national campaign to mobilize social workers to register, educate, and get voters to the polls so their voices will be included in deciding the direction of the country. The VotingIsSocialWork.com website will be launched in May with resources on voting.