9/24/2018News

WeWork Registering New Voters Across the Country

by Mark Sullivan

When WeWork hosted a voter registration drive earlier this summer in New York, Julissa Contreras noticed how excited people were to participate.

“Our members were really happy to see us there,” says Contreras, a community manager at WeWork Harlem. “It showed that we’re not just about what they do at work. We’re part of the neighborhood, part of the community.”

That pilot program, held earlier in the summer, took place in 20 WeWork locations. It was so successful that this week WeWork is rolling out a voter registration drive at close to 150 locations across the country.

The campaign is in celebration of National Voter Registration Day, which falls on Sept. 25. It’s a partnership with two national organizations that focus on the importance of voting, When We All Vote (a WeWork member) and Nonprofit VOTE.

WeWork voter registration driveJulissa Contreras, community manager of WeWork Harlem, signs up a new voter.

WeWork is also teaming up with Meetup, its platform to allow people to schedule in-person events. Meetup organizers across the country will devote a few minutes this week to talk about the importance of voting.

From Sept. 24-28, electronic voter registration hubs will be installed in all WeWork locations in the U.S. They will allow people in those buildings to register online, check their registration status, or find out what steps they need to take to become a registered voter.

Designated buildings in cities across the country will serve as public hubs where the general public can stop by and register to vote. Public hubs will include New York’s WeWork 110 Wall St, Chicago’s WeWork River North, Cambridge’s WeWork Mass Ave, Philadelphia’s WeWork Walnut St, Seattle’s WeWork Denny Triangle, Portland’s WeWork 920 SW 6th, San Francisco’s WeWork Civic Center and WeWork Soma, and WeWork 80 M St in Washington, D.C., along with locations in Austin.

According to Nonprofit VOTE, just under 37 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the last midterm election — the lowest turnout since World War II. More than 21 percent of eligible voters are not even registered.

Maria Elena Garcia, a special projects manager with VoteRunLead, volunteered at the voter registration effort at WeWork Harlem this year. Her organization, which trains women to run for public office, is based at that WeWork location.

“I went door to door, meeting people and letting them know about the program,” she says. “It was a great way to reach out to people from other organizations.”

On National Voter Registration Day, Garcia says she will will staff a table at WeWork 110 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

Contreras says that along with registering WeWork members, she hopes to show visitors that WeWork Harlem is all about community.

“I think it says a lot about us as an organization,” says Contreras. “It shows we try to commit to our community as much as they commit to us.”

Public voter registrations hubs

Austin

Partnering with Austin Tech Alliance

Where: Select WeWork buildings

Cambridge

Partnering with MassVote

Where: WeWork Mass Ave

When: Sept. 25, 2:30-6; Sept. 26, 4-6; Sept. 27, noon-2; and Sept. 28, 4-6

Chicago

Partnering with BallotReady

Where: WeWork River North

When: September 24-27, 9-5

New York

Partnering with VoteRunLead and League of Women Voters

Where: WeWork 110 Wall Street

When: September 26 and 27, 9-5

Philadelphia

Partnering with Disability Rights of Pennsylvania

Where: WeWork Walnut St

When: September 24, 10-2

Portland

Partnering with Bus Project

Where: WeWork 920 SW 6th

When: September 26 and 27, 9-10 and 4-5:30

San Francisco

Partnering with APRI

Where: WeWork Civic Center and WeWork Soma

When: September 24 and 25, 9-5

Seattle

Partnering with King County Elections

Where: WeWork Denny Triangle

When: September 26 and 27, 9-11 and 3-5

Washington, D.C.

Partnering with Inspire USA

Where: WeWork 80 M St

When: September 24, 26, and 27, 9-5

Photos by Frank Mullaney