As the 2016 presidential election approaches, it is important for people to be registered to vote. For New Yorkers, it is also an opportune time to enroll as an organ, eye and tissue donor in the Donate Life Registry. Every vote counts, every donor counts!
New York State is the only state to offer residents an opportunity to enroll in the state’s Donate Life Registry and say yes to organ, eye and tissue donation on its voter registration form. This opportunity to enroll in the Registry first became available in 2009. And in 2014, The New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD), whose goal is to ensure a transplant for every New Yorker in need, received federal funds from the Health Research and Services Administration (HRSA) to research the effectiveness of Registry enrollment through voter registration to find out if it significantly increases the number of individual enrollments.
With the goal in mind of increasing the number of individuals enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry, NYAD enlisted the support of The Eye-Bank and other organ, eye and tissue organizations across the state in addition to the New York State League of Women Voters to pair New York State organ donor registration with the voter registration process.
The research is conducted at voter registration drives set up by the organ, eye and tissue donation organizations and the League of Women Voters. When registering people to vote, it is also pointed out that there is an organ donor enrollment section on the form and information is provide to voter registrants about donation. Enrolling as a donor during voter registration is encouraged, but not required. Surveys and exit interviews with registrants are also conducted to better understand the decision-making process behind organ, eye and tissue donation enrollment.
The Eye-Bank has worked specifically with the League of Women Voters in New Rochelle at a number of drives so far and has received positive feedback from the public. People tend to be unaware of the opportunity to enroll at the time of registering to vote, but many express their appreciation.
The League educates people about voting and The Eye-Bank educates people about organ, eye and tissue donation. There are approximately 10,000 New Yorkers in need of life-saving organ transplants. New York has the third highest need for donors in the United States, yet the second lowest percentage of registered donors. People are reminded that by registering to vote they may impact the future and by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, they may someday change a life.
Download your voter registration today and don’t forget to say “YES” to organ, eye and tissue donation! http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/voteform.pdf