For the first time in its history, Planned Parenthood will offer voter registration.
Regardless of where you land politically, the 2016 U.S. presidential election is as high-stakes as it gets.
There's a massive amount of work to be done on the economy, the war on terror, immigration, gun control, and international relations, a vacant Supreme Court seat to fill, and the two major party candidates represent — to put it lightly — wildly different approaches to those issues.
With record low voter turnout in the past few elections, this year it is incredibly important that as many people as possible get registered and show up to vote in November.
Outreach is key in getting voters to the polls, and a ton of organizations have been stepping up and spreading the word about how to register to vote and why people should.
To make sure as many people as possible can register quickly and easily, organizations often find creative ways (think MTV's Rock the Vote campaign) to meet people where they're at.
Most recently, Planned Parenthood joined the effort to get out the vote for the very first time in its 100-year history.
Planned Parenthood launched a campaign called "My Vote, My Voice" to help people visiting its clinics register to vote.
The program is part of a nonpartisan effort to mobilize volunteers across 45 states to set up "action tables" and help register voters, educate people about area-specific voter ID laws, and even remind people to vote two weeks before the election.
“We’re launching [the campaign] to help ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted in communities across the country. No matter what your political beliefs are, if you don’t or can’t vote, then you can’t elect officials who will keep your best interests in mind,” said Anna Keene, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.
This particular outreach becomes more significant when you realize who relies on Planned Parenthood's services.
Planned Parenthood operates in all 50 states and provides health services to millions of people every year. According to the organization, 78% of Planned Parenthood's patients are at, or below, the federal poverty line.
Many of them are people of color and live in areas with strict voter ID laws, which can deter them from voting. Educating people on how these laws work and what is required to vote will give a voice to the millions who are being disenfranchised and not having their voices heard.
While "My Voice, My Vote" is a nonpartisan effort to register as many voters as possible (regardless of party affiliation), Planned Parenthood is not strictly a nonpartisan organization.
Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first presidential candidate they've ever officially endorsed, and has spent millions boosting her campaign with ads and phone banks. “Hillary Clinton is the only candidate in this race who has made women’s health and rights a priority,” said Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the endorsement.
Planned Parenthood has become something of a mascot for the ongoing abortion debate, with clinics being attacked or shut down by those who are against it, as well as having its funding threatened by anti-abortion lawmakers who don't seem to realize that taxpayer money can't pay for abortions anyway.
The mission of "My Vote, My Voice" is simply to improve the strength of our democracy and ensure that everyone has the chance to support the candidate they wish.
“If we can’t all participate in our government, we all get cheated,” said Spokeswoman Anna Keene.
So, seriously — if you haven't already — register to vote.