Democracynyc To Launch $2 Million Voter Education Campaign From Harlem To Hollis

June 6, 2023

NYC Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Sayeed and Chief Democracy Officer Kathleen Daniel today announced a $2 million grassroots “Get Out the Vote” campaign.

The campaign is to educate New Yorkers on Ranked Choice Voting, the rights of Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters, and to activate voters to turn out to the polls ahead of the June Primary Election.

This comprehensive campaign run by DemocracyNYC, a program of the CEC, will include a grassroots direct-to-New Yorker outreach and canvassing operation, a $1.1 million targeted multilingual advertising campaign with a focus on ethnic and community media, a CUNY Corps of 100 participating students, and partnerships with community and faith-based organizations. The CEC will continue to provide interpretation services at select Early Voting and Election Day poll sites in the following languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Urdu, and Yiddish.

“Voting gives New Yorkers a say in their democracy,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “With this investment to educate voters about ranked-choice voting, DemocracyNYC can work to fill in the gaps in our city’s voter education efforts and reach New Yorkers who are typically left out of the democratic process. By engaging the community and providing language interpreters at poll sites, we can get more voters to turn out to the polls and ensure their voices are heard.”


“Voting is power! Voting is a critical vehicle to ensure that New Yorkers have a voice in the policies and programs that impact our communities. Over the past three years DemocracyNYC has become known for the culturally competent voter education resources they provide to diverse communities throughout the city,” said Chief Engagement Officer Betsy MacLean. “Under Kathleen’s leadership – the very definition of community organizing passion, energy, and commitment – I know there are no bounds to what DemocracyNYC can achieve. This investment of $2 Million is a testament to the administration’s continued commitment to civic engagement during and beyond elections.”

“Elections provide residents with an opportunity to make an impact in their communities,” said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair & Executive Director, NYC Civic Engagement Commission.  “As part of the civic engagement infrastructure of New York City, DemocracyNYC plays a critical role in building trust between New Yorkers and their government. We know that thoughtful education and providing services in multiple languages is an important step, and the Civic Engagement Commission is thrilled to be leading these efforts.”

“DemocracyNYC is committed to building a movement to create a culture of voting in NYC.” said Chief Democracy Officer Kathleen Daniel.  “The vote is one of our sacred rights (as citizens) and one of the keys to building community power. This grassroots, multilingual, multimedia campaign will empower New Yorkers to engage and inform voters in their own communities and work to stop the drop between voter registration and voter activation. These efforts will help to ensure that in every election, our voices are heard, and the voters win.”


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Pursuant to Mayoral Executive Order 88, DemocracyNYC is a program of the CEC. This campaign will build on the foundation and strategies laid by DemocracyNYC in previous election cycles. Efforts will include:

$1.1 Million Multilingual Media Campaign

  • Ethnic and Community Media TV, radio, and print advertising.
  • An out of home campaign which includes subway, bus shelters and newsstand ads, digital screens in bars, restaurants, barbershops and nail salons, the NYC Ferry, LinkNYC, and more.
  • Digital media on social media and streaming services.
  • Promotion of multilingual digital games which help New Yorkers practice and understand how Ranked Choice Voting works.

Direct Outreach

  • Investments in Community and Faith-Based Organizations, to conduct in-person outreach, voter education and activation, including in the 33 neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19.
  • Hosting and facilitating multilingual voter education teach-ins.
  • Conducting Citywide Days of Action including Phone Banking, Peer-to-Peer Texting, and Community Canvassing to Get Out the Vote for the June Primary.
  • Developing a CUNY student corps to conduct voter outreach, voter education, and volunteer recruitment.
  • Collaborating with NYC Service and the Spread Love NYC campaign to build a volunteer base of New Yorkers committed to stopping the drop between voter registration and voter activation.

Language Access and Accessibility Resources

  • As part of its charter-mandated programming, the CEC provides language interpreters at poll sites.
  • Investing in translation of key voter education resources in multiple languages including printed materials and public service announcements.
  • Sharing culturally competent video content advising New Yorkers of their right to vote in their language.

“All New Yorkers have a responsibility to contribute to the success of our city, and this investment will bring so many more voices to the polls,” said Chief Service Officer Laura Rog. “We are proud to partner with DemocracyNYC through our Spread Love NYC campaign this June and support community organizations to activate New Yorkers at the primary election.”

“Access and education are essential factors for voter turnout,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Commissioner Manuel Castro. “The Get Out the vote campaign will be critical for immigrant communities to learn about their rights and make informed decisions about their local legislation. We look forward to working with Civic Engagement Commission to ensure immigrant New Yorkers have their voices heard in the upcoming elections.”    

“Outreach is at the heart of what we do at PEU to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the resources and benefits they deserve,” said Isolina De La Cruz, Acting Executive Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “We applaud this voter education plan, which will integrate a robust grassroots campaign to ensure that New Yorkers are able to cast their vote in the upcoming election and ensure that lack of awareness or access is not a barrier.”

“Every election holds significance, and our city’s diverse voters must be prepared to go to the polls,” said Commissioner Sideya Sherman, NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity. Through this $2 million awareness campaign, DemocracyNYC is empowering New Yorkers with language access, education, and information, to amplify their voices and participate effectively in the democratic process.”

“Efforts to get out the youth vote are critical in every election, but especially in municipal elections like this one. In 2021, only 11.1% of 18–29-year-old NYC residents cast their ballot,” said Sanda Balaban, Co-Founder/Director, YVote and Next Generation Politics. “We’re heartened to see this investment by DemocracyNYC and the CEC with the goal of expanding voting access. Our YVote youth are committed to educating and energizing their eligible peers to make their voices heard at the ballot box this month!”

“BKLVLUP proudly stands with Democracy NYC’s profound civic engagement initiative. This drive towards re-igniting voter turnout, increased language accessibility and amplified citizens’ rights complements our mission in the communities we serve, reinforcing the belief that true empowerment starts with helping underserved communities to raise their voice,” said Allyson Martinez, Co-Founder, Brooklyn Level Up. “By organizing and educating together, we are strengthening civic engagement, nurturing an inclusive, informed New York that champions diversity and encourages every resident to be part of the decision-making process through their vote and collective action.”

“Voters’ education is critical in engaging the majority of people who matter the most, educating them about the voting process, and helping them grab power to make responsible decisions that will have a positive impact on their lives,” said Ramatu Ahmed, Founder, African Life Center. “The people are looking forward to working with the Civic Engagement Commission to promote ranked choice voting and enhance effective voting education in New York City.”

“RiseBoro is a strong advocate for direct community outreach and whole-community approaches that engage all stakeholders,” said Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership. “This partnership with the Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) and DemocracyNYC strongly meets RiseBoro’s vision for more civic participation as well as for more New Yorkers taking control of issues that impact their communities.”

“We want New Yorkers to get in the game – to be involved in their local civics and the operations that make the city tick,” said Cyriac St. Vil, Vice President, 500 Men Making a Difference. “We work to help people stay involved and make sure their vote and opinions are both noted and counted.”

“We are pleased to participate in the DemocracyNYC campaign as part of our community engagement activities,” said Gregory Anderson, President and CEO of Bridge Street Development Corporation. “Providing voter education and increasing voter participation is a critical component to achieving equity and change in our communities throughout the City of New York”

DemocracyNYC

DemocracyNYC is a nonpartisan program of the NYC Civic Engagement Commission focused on increasing participation in democracy for all New Yorkers as well as increasing voter participation in elections. DemocracyNYC is focusing on building a culture of voting in NYC. For more information, visit: nyc.gov/democracynyc

Civic Engagement Commission

The Civic Engagement Commission was established by the voters of New York City as part of an amendment to the City Charter adopted in 2018. The Commission’s mission is to enhance civic participation, promote civic trust, and strengthen democracy in New York City. The Commission’s core programming includes:

  • The People’s Money citywide participatory budgeting process
  • DemocracyNYC and poll site language assistance
  • Providing assistance and training to community boards
  • Partnerships with community-based organizations and civic leaders

Visit the CEC website to learn more: nyc.gov/cec

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