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.

The Community Health Center of SE Kansas, serving one of three 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 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.

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Vot-ER and the Community Health Center of SE Kansas recap their work