What is VERM and why is it here?

VERM is on the lips of every voting activist in town. That's Voter Education Registration and Mobilization, a coalition of more than a dozen organizations and individuals committed to getting citizens to the polls, no matter what it takes.

Anne Brown, executive director of the Public Housing Residents Association, credits housing activist Joy Johnson with bringing the idea of VERM to the city from a National Low-Income Housing Coalition conference where voter education was a hot topic.

Brown– who's in charge of the registration and mobilization committee– stresses VERM is not just about registration, and that education and getting to the polls are just as important.

The group has a voter guide to this year's election listing the positions of candidates George W. Bush and John F. Kerry– because naturally its nonprofit members can't endorse candidates.

The group has produced a public service announcement under the guidance of Charlottesville spokesman Maurice Jones that demonstrates how to use voting machines.

And with everybody and her brother trying to register voters in town, VERM coordinates those efforts to make sure Fridays After 5 isn't overrun with 15 tables all elbowing for would-be voters' signatures on registration forms.

As soon as VERM finishes registering voters October 4, it'll start to work getting people to the polls November 2.

VERM members

- League of Women Voters

- Virginia Organizing Project

- Public Housing Association of Residents

- Quality Community Council

- Just Children

- Legal Aid Justice Center


- Sheri Iachetta, Charlottesville Registrar

- Michael Knight, WUVA 92.7 KISS FM

- George Loper, Democratic website guru

- Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice

- Nila Saliba, Dem activist

- Stratton Salidis, transportation activist and two-time City Council candidate


What are George Bush and John Kerry's positions on issues? The VERM voter guide describes whether they strongly or somewhat favor/oppose an issue.