Social Work Votes

As a profession rooted in social justice, social workers must be on the forefront of addressing voter suppression. We must stand as one to protect the right to vote, clinicians and advocates alike. - Judith Wineman, SWIFTT Faculty Advisor and Lecturer

Social Work is voting iconThe Social Work in Focus Transition Team (SWIFTT) challenges all social workers to get involved this election season while safely remaining at home.  SWIFTT is calling on our Warrior community to get out the vote and participate in its three-pronged Social Work Votes (SW Votes) campaign which includes Campaign School, the Rolling Vote Initiative, and General Election Day activities.

Led by Social Work MSW alum, Andre Iadipaolo, SWIFTT is an ad hoc committee established to support the WSU School of Social Work with outreach and action during this time of crisis. "Since I began my social work journey, I knew I was going to be working in the political arena. Social justice is inherently a policy-based conversation, and my social work education has given me the tools to facilitate those conversations locally," stated Andre Iadipaolo. "I feel very honored to be given the opportunity to help run the WSU SW Votes Campaign. Our students, faculty, and advisors have all come together to get out the vote in this ridiculously critical election. I am proud to be a social worker this November."


Election Day Mobilization Project: Call 2 Action

The Wayne State University SW Votes Campaign called social workers to action on Election Day 2020. On November 3rd, they coordinated Social Work students, faculty and staff volunteers to place voting reminder calls for every Social Work student. They ensured that all of our students had their voices heard on Election Day.

Phone banking took place all day, and was super easy to do. A half-hour kick-off Zoom event got people trained and fired up. Calls were made from morning to early evening on Election Day.

In the past, our students worked with NASW-Michigan in getting students and the people we work with in field agencies registered to vote, but today we shift to mobilization thanks to same-day registration. SW Votes provides an opportunity for our students and the Warrior community to come together and ensure that all Detroit voices are heard this election day. - Richard Smith, Associate Professor 


Campaign School

The Wayne State School of Social Work hosted the fall 2020 Campaign School: Protecting the Right to Vote scheduled on Saturday, September 26, 2020 from 10 am to 2 pm. As we enter this critical election season, communities across the country face intentional voter suppression. From county red-tape to federal practices, voters face many obstacles to have their voices heard. Yet no profession is better suited to protect the vote than social work!

Wayne State students, faculty and staff attended Campaign School to learn practical knowledge and action items for protecting civic engagement. Keynote speaker Tanya Rhodes-Smith, MSW, instructor in residence and director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, addressed the many forms voter suppression takes (PowerPoint Presentation). Campaign School will also feature our Election Protection Panel, and an in-depth discussion of the documentary Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook. Students were asked to view the film ahead of time, which is provided for free on YouTube. Learn more about Campaign School.

PDF - SW Votes Resource Guide 

I attended the MSU Campaign School in February, and hearing from political social workers was quite inspiring. Our hope is to expand on the great foundation MSU has created and further explore the subject of systemic voting issues and the discourse around political social work. Our goal is to educate and mobilize students to support voter protection.  Andre Iadipaolo, Chair of SWIFTT


The Rolling Vote Initiative

Social workers, let's get to work! This election season, we challenge all social workers to get out the vote while safely remaining at home. Our Rolling Vote Initiative (RVI) represents a coordinated team of social work students and volunteers who conduct voter outreach via remote phone banking. Volunteers are given a script, proper support, and phone numbers weekly to cold call. 

Meetings are every Thursday at 4 pm on Zoom. No experience needed, all change agents welcome. To volunteer, send a contact email to Andre S. Iadipaolo at

"Our goal with the RVI started relatively simple: make sure every WSU social work student is registered and knows how they are going to vote. However, since we've received such strong support from the School of Social Work, the RVI is still growing capacity," noted Andre Iadipaolo. "Moving into the fall, we will be expanding into new voter populations and engaging new partner agencies. I want to stress that the Rolling Vote Initiative is for everybody though! Social worker or not, email me and lets' get you on the phone!"

When people think social work, they typically don't think of voting. Social workers are historically voter advocates though. While some may say it is outdated, we as social workers know the value of one-on-one conversations. Plus, phone banking is perfect for social distancing and stay at home practice. The RVI is committed to both voter mobilization and ensuring safety for all our participants. - Judith Wineman, SWIFTT Faculty Advisor and Lecturer

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Get Involved!

To be added to our Election Day volunteer list, send a contact email to Andre S. Iadipaolo ( indicating which initiative you would like to participate in.