Election Series Part 2: Election Days Advocacy
We look at how nonprofits can continue to advocate for a fair and safe election during election days. We intentionally say “days” because many states are offering vote-by-mail (“VBM”, also known as “absentee voting”) or offer early in-person voting well before Nov 3rd, 2020. States took these measures to mitigate some of the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic that we talked about in Part 1 of this series.
Our attorneys for this episode:
Because voting doesn’t just happen one day this year, here are things that 501(c)(3)s, as trusted messengers, can do during the voting days to support a free and fair election.
- Encourage people who are not at high-risk to COVID-19 to step up and work as poll worker and early voting officials. Example – More Than a Vote: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=322130045738998
- Educate your community and constituents about their different voting options. It is important to note that these rules will vary by states and sometimes even by counties!
- Preparing for in-person voting
- Vote-by-mail rules and deadlines
- Provisional ballots and what that means
- Facilitate voting by offering rides to polls, childcare services, translation services, pay off fines.
- Promote election protection: be a poll monitor or staff voter protection hotline.
- Have a game plan to address voter intimidation.
- Help people understand that we likely won’t have definitive elections results the night of Nov. 3rd, especially in close races.
- Mobilize public support for safe and fair election (including protests) when anything happens that will prevent voting or the administration of voting.
A special note for private foundations:
It’s not too late, you can fund all nonpartisan efforts except for voter registration drives. This is the rainy day that you’ve been saving for!
A special note for 501(c)(4)s:
501(c)(4)s can do everything we’ve covered in this episode and you could do one of these activities in a partisan manner as long as it is your secondary activity.
- Appendix B of Rules of the Game: Permissible Nonpartisan 501(c)(3) and Partisan Campaign Contact on Voter Engagement and Protection Efforts
- Election Protection by c3s
- Texas Civil Rights Project stopped voter “purges” that would have affected many naturalized citizens. https://www.bolderadvocacy.org/story/legal-advocacy-in-action-texas-civil-rights-project/
- Bolder Advocacy’s TA hotline: 866-NP-LOBBY
- Email us at [email protected]
- Our website is bolderadvocacy.org
Non-Bolder Advocacy Resources:
- Voter Registration Deadlines by State (Vote.org)
- State Compendium of Election Worker Laws and Statutes (U.S. Election Assistance Commission)
- Do you want to be a poll worker? Learn more here: https://www.powerthepolls.org/
- Check out how a 501(c)(4) is feeding people waiting in line to vote! https://polls.pizza/
- Election Protection: https://866ourvote.org/
- Paying off fines: https://wegotthevote.org/finesandfees/ and article on Mike Bloomberg paying off fines for former felons in Florida so they can vote
- art pieces around voting: https://www.planyourvote.org/artist-works