INDIANAPOLIS — Election day in a Census year is just over five weeks away and organizations are working to send Hoosiers to the polls and be counted.
The Community Alliance for the Far East side (C.A.F.E.) and The Exchange at The Indianapolis Urban League want to add three things to your agenda this weekend. Register to vote, respond to the 2020 Census, and set a plan for how you will cast your ballot.
"We're partnering to make sure that we are able to make sure our voices, our people, our metrics, behind the power and the money that comes with the census and the power that comes with casting your ballot," Adrianne Slash said.
Slash is the President of The Exchange at the Urban League, she says their numbers show Black Hoosiers in Marion County are under-represented in current Census data. She says that's why they are showing residents of the far east side that their vote and Census response affects everything from school funding, to mass transit to road construction and housing.
"It's important for people to understand that we are distributing school board boundaries and lines. We're identifying free lunch programs and other programs that help us, that benefit us, and if we're not reporting ourselves at the same rate that other communities are, we're gonna miss out," Slash said.
Organizers are holding a block party this weekend, to find solutions to roadblocks and excuses they often hear from residents. That includes getting people registered to vote, showing them how to respond to the census, and even locating voting centers and bus routes.
"I can't think of one single reason why you should not be registered to vote. You need to have your voice counted. Everybody's voice counts," said Faren Jones of the Indianapolis Urban League.
The block party is for the entire family, featuring food trucks, a DJ and even free giveaways. Organizers say getting Hoosiers ready to vote goes beyond this weekend's event. This year, C.A.F.E. will be driving voters directly to the polls, and not just on Election Day.
"We will be providing transportation for early voting in October, and then also with C.A.F.E. being a polling site in November, we're going to provide transportation for that as well. So, we are trying to prevent all barriers that might block anyone from being able to vote," said Kendra Nowell, Chief Programs Officer at C.A.F.E.
The block party is this Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the C.A.F.E. headquarters, 8902 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46226. It is free and everyone is welcome. The only requirement is wearing a face mask.
Respond to the 2020 Census here: https://my2020census.gov/
Register to Vote for the 2020 General Election here: https://indianavoters.in.gov/