INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A grassroots organization is taking up the duty, bringing out what they call election defenders while working to make sure poll rules are being followed. “Count Us In” says the focus today is with election defenders, but all year long they work to diversify civic engagement particularly in communities of color. They say it’s important to know you’re right at the poll, but also how to advocate for yourself with legislators who don’t often look like you.
Voting is a civic duty that’s worth protecting, especially if you ask members of the grassroots organization “Count Us In.”
“We looked at voting as a civic engagement holistically. Like today, it’s really important to vote. That’s a huge part, but we also want to make sure that people’s voices are heard at all levels,” Jaylyn Radziminski, “Count Us In” founder said.
The agency has been working hard leading up to the Election Day with surveying sites and volunteering with phone bank. It’s all part of the efforts in Indianapolis to help voters understand what’s on the ballot, specifically with the National Asian American Pacific Islander Women’s Forum of Indiana to support Asian and Black voters.
“The flier said, ‘Hey Auntie did you vote?’” Radziminski said about a previous event flier. “That’s the feeling you are calling fam, just to show up, and for the community, by the community. Just to show initiative like that, I don’t know. I just know it motivates people so much more.”
With election day officially here, the work extends farther than that. This round, they’ve brought election defenders to support efforts to the north in Fort Wayne.
“We’re just making sure it’s a safe space for people to vote,” Sarah Leone, a “Count Us In” board member said
The defenders say voting for the most part went smoothly, with only a few issues that needed to be addressed.
“So far this morning, we’ve had people too close to the door. We’ve had some issues with violent images unfortunately being shown as a way to push their efforts,” Leone said.
They say you can be your own election defender. Know the rules and report problems you see while casting your vote.
“Folks who work all day may only have 15 minutes to vote, so they don’t need anybody interfering,” Leone said.