Literacy programs help their learners find their voices. Whether it is writing an email with newfound confidence, putting together a resume or helping their kids with their homework, learners feel the empowerment that comes from improved literacy.
The Cook County Clerk’s office and the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition are partnering to help learners find their voice and feel that same sense of empowerment on Election Day.
Our two offices have collaborated on ChicaGO Vote!, a handout that outlines key information about the March 20th Primary. It is a simple and succinct guide to the Gubernatorial Primary that includes key dates, FAQs, registration options, the offices on the ballot, information about early voting, mail voting and Election Day itself. The ChicaGO Vote! guide walks the reader through each step of the voting process, making it easier for adult learners to participate in the upcoming election.
But as with so many steps in literacy education, this information needs to be combined with the self-confidence that adult learners deserve to be heard. We want to alleviate those doubts that many students might have that their vote doesn’t matter, that they might embarrass themselves in some way in the polling place or that they don’t understand enough about the political process to cast a ballot. The ChicaGO Vote! guide aims to empower adult students to exercise their voting rights and make their voices heard in the upcoming election.
To help prepare students for the election, we have also created a PowerPoint that can be used to facilitate discussion not only on this election but the history of voting rights, how elections impact them and what other steps learners can take to take part in the democratic process. From writing letters to elected officials to reading policy positions, there is no shortage of ways to combine civics and literacy in lesson plans.
We hope that in these conversations students can convince themselves and one another that regardless of their background or income, democracy benefits when everyone is involved.