Sometimes the benefits of voting aren't obvious. For Black voters in Georgia they are, courtesy a NAACP Atlanta StoryMap that shows how they gain from the American Rescue Plan.
And what they stand to lose as the Republican legislature has just passed bills to make it harder for communities of color to vote.
People are naturally interested in how they stand to gain from legislation. What difference does it make to their lives? How can voters easily find this information? The NAACP Atlanta StoryMap breaks out information about COVID relief measures, unemployment benefits, SNAP (food stamps), health insurance and education. Details can be searched for by county along with details in the form of images and videos.
Voting has its rewards. That's why would Republicans are working so hard to deny minorities their right to vote.
Georgia Republicans pass extreme voting bans
"Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed into law a sweeping measure that will dramatically limit access to voting following unfounded claims of fraud after Democrats won the swing state in the 2020 elections. Critics call it "Jim Crow 2.0." The measure imposes new identification requirements, limits the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots and criminalizes giving water to people standing in line." - HuffPost
Read the final version of the bill here, and the legal complaint here. - Democracy Docket
Large amounts of data can be hard to understand. It has to be easy to search and personalized. Maps are intuitive and everyone knows how to search one for information. This map consists of several data layers:
- County boundaries
- Population and poverty levels for each county
- Details on benefits in the American Rescue Plan for COVID relief, unemployment insurance, health insurance, SNAP benefits and children's education
Users are presented with these data layers individually, rather than altogether which would be confusing. DemLabs designed this map with ArcGIS Online, a widely used app which nonprofit groups can license for about $150 per year.
Designing a StoryMap
A map by itself is good, but it needs context to make it more useful. That's where the free StoryMap app comes in. It can be used to create interactive, digital stories with images, explanations, maps and videos. Readers can read them on a phone or laptop. The NAACP Atlanta StoryMap includes details from the White House Briefing Room, Health and Human Services and the USDA. The information is presented in a visual, interactive manner which is easy to share as a link.
Keep it simple
People are busy with short attention spans. Few people will dig through reams of notes and policy papers for details. Make it easy for them to understand the benefits by using a pyramid like structure to present information. Headlines first, with the option for them to search for what interests them.
"The American Rescue Plan and Black Communities
The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis are devastating Black communities. While Black Americans are 13 percent of the U.S. population, they represent nearly 24 percent of age-adjusted COVID-19 deaths. Black families also face higher than average unemployment rates and other economic challenges associated with the pandemic. Black Americans are facing one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In January, nine percent of Black workers – 1.8 million people – were unemployed. Approximately 1 in 5 Black households are also struggling with food insufficiency, and more than 1 in 3 Black renters have fallen behind on payments.
Give working families a $1,400 per-person check, bringing their total relief payment from this and the December down payment to $2,000. More than 85% of households will receive a check and checks in this bill are bigger than the checks in the CARES Act or in the December bill. And, for the first time, adult dependents are entitled to a check as well. This means a lower or middle-income family of four will see an additional $5,600 in their pockets." From a policy paper becomes an interactive link on the StoryMap.
Takeaway: When you have an important story to tell, do it right. Keep it simple. Make it visual. Use the free StoryMap app.
Image credit: SWMUL