The following is a guest blog authored by Maggie Bush, League of Women Voters of the US, a Nonprofit Voter Empowerment Project Flagship Partner
With midterm elections looming, now is the time for the nonprofit sector to encourage our networks to make a plan and get ready to vote. With a proven role in promoting voter registration and turnout, trusted nongovernmental organizations can make a huge difference in shaping our electorate – and ensuring the communities we serve have a seat at the table. With over 100 years of experience in empowering Americans to fully participate in our democracy, the League of Women Voters works to engage voters year-round, every year.
A major way we do this is by leveraging the nonpartisan work of our 750+ affiliates nationwide and aggregating their comprehensive election information into one single national voters’ guide resource. Through the award-winning site, we’ve worked with dozens of nonprofits and other partners to get the word out about upcoming elections and ensure communities have access to accurate, timely information. We’re ready to work with your organization to do the same in 2022!
Your Nonprofit’s Voter Engagement Checklist
Join our efforts to ensure voters have the information they need to successfully participate in every election. Consider the following key actions if you’re interested in encouraging your organization to engage your members, staff, and network in voting this year.
Voter registration deadlines are looming. Ask your networks to visit
www.VOTE411.org/register to ensure their status is up to date. This is especially important if your nonprofit serves people who frequently move.
You can support voter registration by:
• Incorporating voter registration into in-person conversations that your staff has with stakeholders, and constituents
• Asking local voter engagement organizations to set up in-person events at your facilities
• Encouraging registration through your nonprofit’s digital outreach – via email blasts, your social media channels, and more.
Encourage Your Network to Develop a Plan
Research confirms that asking people to make a plan to vote, whether in person, via email, or by mail, increases the likelihood that they will do so. With resources available in both English and Spanish, the VOTE411 voters’ guide helps millions of voters make their voting plan each year — many of them young people and first-time voters — by learning who’s on their ballot, where candidates stand on the issues, how to find their polling place, and more. Use LWV’s promotional content to help spread the word.
Be a Source of Accurate and Timely Information
Hundreds of jurisdictions have changed their voting processes in recent months; check the facts and help combat misinformation by pointing people to a trusted source like VOTE411 or your local elections administrator’s website. If you encounter people having real-time voting problems, share information about the voter protection hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE.
Help Dial Up the Pressure to Keep Voters Informed
Since its inception in 2006, VOTE411 has provided 36 million voters with the information they need before Election Day. When a candidate does not respond to our questions, the millions of voters the candidates hope to serve do not get the information they need before casting their ballots. Voters deserve to know where the candidates stand on the important issues to successfully fill out their ballots. When candidates know that voters care about something (in this case, creating a nonpartisan voter guide to keep voters informed), it is in their best interest to respond.
Words matter. VOTE411 does not speak on behalf of candidates. Instead, we provide all candidates with an opportunity to answer the most pressing questions in their communities, in their own words. Allowing candidates to speak directly to you, the voters, through our online voters’ guide platform, ensures that the candidates’ views are accurately represented. This is an opportunity to encourage and persuade candidates to respond.
In three simple steps, nonprofits can help encourage candidates to respond to our questions to ensure voters have as much information as possible. Starting in mid-October:
Step 1: Use the LWV Voter Guide to check whether your candidate(s) answered our questions.
Step 2: If your candidate(s) has answered our questions, thank them by sending a message on social media or writing a letter to them via email or post.
Step 3: If your candidate(s) has NOT answered our questions, call them to urge them to answer the League’s questions as soon as possible. We need your help! Even after multiple contacts from League volunteers across the country, we have candidates who have not yet responded to our questions. If you or one of the candidates you reach out to have any questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Engaged in Local Efforts
Visit www.lwv.org to find your local League of Women Voters and pursue a regional or local partnership! By working together, we can bring meaningful change to our communities and encourage them to take action far beyond the ballot box.
Voting is a fundamental principle, and all Americans deserve the equal opportunity to make their voices heard. As trusted nonprofit leaders, we all play an important role in engaging our communities as voters. VOTE411 has personalized information for every eligible voter.
Use the following QR code to help us provide accurate and unbiased voting information:
The Nonprofit Voter Empowerment Project is a nonpartisan pledge campaign that was developed by Independent Sector in partnership with Nonprofit VOTE to support nonprofits’ efforts to increase voter participation among their staff, grantees, volunteers, and constituents in 2022 and beyond.