Lou Frey Institute Tracks Florida’s Civic Engagement

VoteA new website that permits Floridians to monitor the condition of Florida’s civic health launched at the end of October as a result of a partnership among the University of Central Florida’s Lou Frey Institute, the Bob Graham Center at the University of Florida and the National Conference on Citizenship in Washington.  Since 2008, the Institute has been working to prepare reports on the condition of Florida’s civic health.

Drawing on data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Census, the site reports the most recently available data on voter registration and turnout. The resource also provides information about which Floridians volunteer, communicate with their local officials, belong to groups in their communities, donate to charities, and work with their neighbors to solve community issues. The site may be accessed at www.floridacivichealth.com.

Visitors to the site can explore trends over time, compare Florida with other states, and examine results for each of the state’s largest metropolitan areas. The site will be updated each year as the Census Bureau releases new results.

“Our goal is to provide Florida citizens with a tool that allows citizens along with state and community leaders to make their own assessments of civic engagement in the state,” said Doug Dobson, the Institute’s executive director. “At its core, Florida’s future depends on each of us taking responsible action to shape it. We hope that just making this information widely available will stimulate thoughtful discussion about the civic culture of Florida and its communities. More than that, we hope that Floridians will be motivated to find ways to work together to strengthen civic participation in every community from Key West to Pensacola.”

Since so many residents have migrated to Florida from other regions of the country, the site’s comparison feature allows users to compare Florida to their former state or any other state in the nation.  A discussion section invites users to post their reactions and suggest ways to strengthen citizen participation.

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