Kansas Community Health Center Provides Civic Health Services
Program Spotlight: Vot-ER and the Community Health Center of SE Kansas successful voter turnout campaign.
Vot-ER is a rock star new national group that provides healthcare institutions and providers with the tools, training, and community to promote civic engagement and register colleagues and patients to vote. Vot-ER envisions hospitals and community health clinics as central touchpoints in communities, where neighbors consider their civic health as well as their physical and mental health.
RDI provided early financial support and mentorship that was vital to Vot-ER’s success. Our steering committee saw the unique power in supporting their expansion into rural community health centers and worked with them to develop this plan.
The Community Health Center of SE Kansas, serving 1 of 3 residents in their highly rural region, had never run a full voter engagement campaign before this year’s collaboration with Vot-ER. Vot-ER provided the inspiration, training, and helpful tools to activate their “army of community health workers” to reach out to 65,000 people in their network and help them turn out to vote in the August 2022 abortion-rights ballot initiative.
“This transformed our organization. We went from passive support of voting to probably the most engaged group in the community.”-Krista Postai, Community Health Center of SE Kansas
Almost 41% of the registered voters in Crawford County turned out, twice as much as usually vote in primary elections. Krista Postai, from the Community Health Center of SE Kansas, beamed, “It was incredible to see the activity at our polling places… We let voices be heard that have been silent for years.”
This story perfectly illustrates the type of impact we hoped to have in hard-to-reach rural areas when we founded the Heartland Fund and Rural Democracy Initiative. This is in some ways a small story, with rural healthcare workers having conversations with their patients in one rural region. But when you picture thousands of these leaders, and efforts across 20 states every week of the year, it gives a sense of our impact.
Watch the clip to hear to hear more from Vot-ER and the Community Health Center of SE Kansas.