Community voting campaign aims to increase turnout


RANDOLPH – Yvonne Watson, a happy retiree Boston Public Schools professor, I just wanted to get a feel for what people thought of Randolph.

Working in education for 37 years, including 26 years as a teacher, she has done her part in listening.

Think about your future in the city she loves she felt the urge to do something.

“There was a time when I had considered stepping away from Randolph, because things just seemed a little tense politically. So I was curious to know how others were feeling about Randolph and the things that concerned them and things they liked about Randolph, ”Watson said.

Drawing inspiration from the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), which trains citizens to be community organizers, Watson started United Randolph, a grassroots organization focused on advocating for the concerns of Randolph residents.

From February 2021, Watson began hosting listening sessions with residents of Randolph to get a feel for their feelings about Randolph.

Complaints about the lack of recreational opportunities for young people outside of sport, the state of roads, traffic, transportation and the cleanliness of the city are just a few of the issues brought before Watson and the board that qu ‘she developed within United Randolph.

Following:‘We want them to do the right thing’: Randolph protest focuses on police accountability

Trained in GBIO organization and power management, she and her team turned to polls to find answers to the city’s problems.

“We saw how many people came to vote in the national elections, and we realized that people are ready to run, but we did not at the time make the connection between the problems of the city and the importance voting and elections, ”said Heather Ho, a member of the United Randolph board of directors.

Philip Chong, left, and Heather Ho recite the names of the victims during an anti-hate peace vigil at Stetson Hall in Randolph on March 27, 2021. Ho is a member of the board of directors of United Randolph.

There were 4,582 ballots counted in Randolph’s municipal election in 2019, compared to 17,565 ballots counted in the 2020 presidential election

The 2020 census measured Randolph’s population at 34,984, meaning less than 15% of the population voted in the 2019 municipal election.

After analyzing the data, the group focused on both listening to why Randolph residents don’t vote in local elections and developing how best to encourage voting.

“I think a lot of them were cynical,” Ho said of residents’ responses not to vote.

Yvonne Watson started United Randolph, a grassroots organization focused on advocating for the concerns of Randolph residents.

“There was not readily available information about the candidates and what they represented, but the information was also not accessible. We have a large minority population and a good part of Randolph was born in the The vital documents must be translated into Spanish, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese etc. ”, added Ho.

According to a 2019 census estimate, only 32% of Randolph’s population is white, with blacks or African Americans making up 44% of the population.

A proposed ordinance was submitted to city council earlier this year to ensure essential documents are translated into all languages ​​spoken by at least five percent of Randolph households, according to District 2 Councilor Jesse Gordon.

The order failed but Gordon plans to bring it back to council in 2022.

United Randolph launched a door-to-door campaign in August encourage residents to vote as well as telephone banking to encourage voting.

On September 25, they will be hosting a weekend of door-to-door campaigning action where they will work with other local community organizations to encourage voting in the upcoming election.

Enterprise staff writer Darvence Chery can be reached at Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.


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