One normally wouldn’t think of jail as the first place to find voters.
But that’s exactly where OCO community organizer Brandon Sturdivant and a small team of leaders have been going to find first-time or infrequent voters.
They recently went to Santa Rita County Jail and the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center to register people to vote and found that many were excited about their effort.
For those just being released and families visiting inmates, it was their first time registering to vote or it had been a long time since they last voted.
Despite some difficulties with getting access, Brandon feels strongly that this underserved population is key to the upcoming election.
“Part of our mission is to really focus on folks who have not been able to have a voice,” Brandon said. “Statistically, these folks are the ones who vote the least. A lot of them don’t even know they can vote. A lot of them don’t believe their vote matters. So that’s where we need to put our energy, and that’s where the difference is going to be in this election.”
Brandon added: “For people who don’t normally show up or don’t feel powerful enough to express themselves, we’re going to get them out and that’s what going to help us win this.”
Through OCO’s efforts to reach ex-offenders this election, Brandon said, leaders have been able to register 250 people to vote. OCO’s goal is 750.