“National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered to vote? If you need to register or change your address, you can do it here!” This was the greeting commuters at Jackson Square and Stony Brook MBTA stations were met with recently when a group of nine Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts volunteers dedicated their evening to helping people register to vote -- regardless of their background, beliefs, or political party.
As a former JP resident and current Planned Parenthood employee, I know how important voting is. Voting gives us the opportunity to make our voices heard and to speak up for the issues we care about; the issues that affect us, our families and our communities. But JP is also home to a number of communities that have been historically disenfranchised, including people of color, young people under 30, and single women. Many barriers remain on the path to the ballot box for these groups, which is why I am so excited by the work Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is doing to ensure everyone can cast their vote.
Along with our efforts on National Voter Registration Day, Planned Parenthood also launched the My Vote, My Voice campaign in our Boston health center this summer. As part of this non-partisan campaign, volunteers help patients and visitors register to vote and encourage them to commit to vote on Election Day. So far, we’ve registered 41 people to vote in addition to the 27 people registered on National Voter Registration Day. These campaigns empower Planned Parenthood patients to make sure their voices are heard and that they have a say on the issues they most care about.
Voting is a central tenet of our democracy and I’m proud to be part of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ work to ensure everyone’s voice can be heard. If you’re not yet registered to vote, you can register to vote by mail, at your local election office, or online until October 19 in Massachusetts. Voting is not only a fundamental right; it’s necessary to ensure our democracy and it’s how we will transform our communities for years to come.
(Editor's note: Katherine Frisher is the Advocacy Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.)