On this episode, 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 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@example.com
- 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