Three weeks after hospital staff at Maimonides launched a QR Code campaign to help patients and staff complete the census before this month's deadline, workers made another push.
Seeking shelter from the rain outside, and encouraging staff, patients and passersby to snap the QR Code leading them to the census website, staff remarked on how convenient the code made it to help complete a critically important headcount.
"It's so simple," said Maimonides' Chief Operating Officer Michael Antoniades, as he filled out the survey on his phone with a few swipes and thumb strokes. Other medical staff picked up lanyards with the code attached, booklets and other paraphernalia to show patients.
In the age of COVID-19, when high touch surfaces are avoided, hospital staff decided to use the code as a way of helping patients stay civically engaged.
The census is used to determine district boundaries, health care policy, hospital funding, and other issues critically important to residents of the country who may not be citizens.
Brooklyn has one of the lowest census participation rates, historically.
On top of this, Maimonides will also use a QR code for a voter registration drive.
Doctors and other staff will wear that QR code around their necks.
People will be wearing lanyards with QR codes that allow them to go to a site that allows them to rapidly register to vote.
Voter registration is typically unimpressive in the city, and that is just as true today.
The Campaign Finance Board reported last month that, compared to the first six months of 2016, new voter registration this year is down an alarming 49 percent, a drop from 155,000 in the first six months of 2016 versus 79,000 as of June of this year, according to Voter Assistance Advisory committee hearing presentation from last month.
Perry Grossman, the senior staff lawyer of the Voting Rights Project for the ACLU, applauded both efforts at hospitals in the city.
"In a season where civic engagement is so important but so difficult to accomplish, every contact we can make to try and get people more involved, whether it’s voter registration or filling out the census, it really has tremendous benefits to the community," Grossman said.
It's the kind of engagement he called beneficial to the city's civic health, even during a pandemic.