Possibility Lab Hosts Share-and-Solve Workshop on Overcoming Barriers to Jail-Based Voting

In April, more than 30 jail-based voting practitioners across the country joined a Share-and-Solve workshop hosted by the Possibility Lab. In enthusiastic conversation and real-time updates to a Google doc, attendees shared challenges to jail access, civics education, and engaging trusted messengers. Followed by collective solution-sharing, participants reported leaving the event feeling “inspired”, “connected”, “energized”, and better supported in their work.

Ami Gandhi from the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights shared learnings from Cook County’s success creating temporary polling places in local jails, while Thahn Tran with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights outlined the recently introduced California bill AB 544, requiring county jail facilities to provide a polling location.

Even with inherent differences across state and county contexts, clear value emerged from this type of community problem-solving. Critical pieces of experience and knowledge, from coalition-building and writing legislation to creating voter guides and educating voters, are spread amongst different individuals and organizations; coming together provides an opportunity to build upon and document this knowledge and advance the field for everyone.

This convening arose from our ongoing partnership with VOICE and the Alameda County Public Defender’s office, as we research and document best practices for jail-based voter registration. 

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