BUILD plans aggressive city Get Out the Vote drive
by Michael Dresser
published October 31, 2014 at the Baltimore Sun
Can BUILD turn out voters in force in Northeast Baltimore?
BUILD, a civic organization that became a powerful electoral force in the 1990s, is planning to mount its most aggressive Get Out the Vote drive in years Monday and Tuesday, concentrating its effort on a single area in Northeast Baltimore.
BUILD, which stands for Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development, plans to put 350 volunteers on the street in various precincts in the area from Northwood to the northern city line.
Ojeda Hall, lead organizer for the group, said the volunteers will staff phone banks, knock on doors and offer rides to residents in an effort to get as many voters to the polls as possible.
Hall said BUILD, a coalition that has its base in more than 30 city congregations, is trying to maximize city turnout in order to build its clout.
“It just really feels like Baltimore City has not gotten much attention in this election,” she said.
Hall said BUILD decided to concentrate a single part of the city in order to bring together its corps of leadership trainees around a common venture. She said the target precincts were chosen because they are in a part of the city with some of the highest registration numbers but a history of low turnout.
Hall said her group’s efforts are not aligned with either party or their gubernatorial nominees, Democrat Anthony G. Brown or Republican Larry Hogan.
“We just care that Baltimore votes,” she said.
Nevertheless, BUILD’s efforts would likely benefit Brown because the overwhelming majority of Baltimore voters are Democrats.
BUILD was an influential political force in the city in the 1990s, especially in the 1998 contest in which Gov. Parris N. Glendening held off Republican challenger Ellen R. Sauerbrey. The group has not been as visible in more recent elections.
Hall said BUILD had been concentrating its energy on other causes, such as promoting school construction. Now, she said, the group wants to re-establish itself as a force in elections. Its efforts this year, she said, are part of a build-up to an even greater role in turning out voters for the mayoral election in 2016.
Read the article at the Baltimore Sun Website here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-build-plans-aggressive-city-getoutthevote-drive-20141031-story.html