The Rochester Business Alliance and the Rochester Faith Alliance today announced the launch of a campaign aimed at encouraging increased voter registration and participation in the 2011 Rochester City School Board elections.
The "Vote, Be Heard" campaign, a series of billboard, poster, radio and television advertisements will target city residents in an effort to inspire greater turnout at the polls for the elections, which take place Tuesday, Nov. 8. The first phase of the campaign will provide information on how to register to vote. Phase 2 will profile all eight candidates, and provide information outlining how and where to vote on Election Day.
Leaders of the two groups said the campaign is designed to generate dialogue and encourage good citizenship. Turnout at the polls for Rochester City school board elections is historically low, and organizers are hoping this campaign will inspire city residents to take an active role and vote.
RBA President and CEO Sandy Parker said the regional chamber of commerce is behind this initiative because its members view education as a business issue.
"A healthy, stable population and a well-educated workforce are imperative to the success of our local economy," Parker said. "The failure or success of the Rochester City School District has a ripple effect throughout the Finger Lakes region. The citizens have a say in who leads this organization, and we encourage them to make their opinions known."
As part of the campaign, voter registration forms are now available at all city YMCA locations, City of Rochester post offices, Rochester City School District high school offices and Faith Alliance member churches, as well as Java's Café on Gibbs Street and at the Public Market, the Frederick Douglass Resource Center, Changing the Community, and the Board of Elections. Oct. 14 is the deadline to register to vote in the November election.
Minister Franklin Florence of the Rochester Faith Alliance said the community is calling for change.
"The status quo is not acceptable," Florence said. "We are doing a disservice to our children and our community. This election is an opportunity to make our voices heard. We want to partner with school board leaders to implement positive educational solutions. Registering to vote and voting are the first steps."
Rochester Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon said the city supports this initiative.
"It is worth everyone's time and effort to encourage greater participation in the civic process," said Redon. "An informed and involved citizenship is the key to creating a vibrant city with excellent schools. In addition to registering new voters, it is also important to find new ways to improve turnout of already registered voters."
For more information on "Vote, Be Heard" or to register to vote, visit www.yesiamvoting.com or search for "Vote and Be Heard Rochester" on Facebook.