Election Day is approaching quickly. Is your nonprofit ready?
Nonprofit clients are often among the groups least likely to vote, and often feel disconnected from government for many reasons. Engaging them, along with your board and staff, in the election can help bridge that disconnect by helping them understand and feel that they have a voice in our democracy.
The easiest item for your nonprofit to do is remind people to vote. Ballots will be mailed out on October 19th, but it’s not too early to start encouraging folks to commit to voting and make a plan for completing their ballot.
But for those looking to do more, here are some additional items:
* Nonprofit organizations can conduct nonpartisan voter registration. Washington’s voter registration deadline is October 8th, and there are multiple ways to get folks registered. Registration information and options in Washington State are available through the Secretary of State’s office. Be sure to also check out the Nonprofit Vote resource library, which has everything you need to get started with engaging your clients, staff, and board in the 2018 election.
* You can download the audio of our latest member call, which featured staff from Nonprofit Vote and Asian Counseling and Referral Service sharing ideas for voter registration and get out the vote activities.
* Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day, which is a national civic holiday dedicated to registering people to vote. The National Voter Registration Day website has key resources for celebrating the day, including a map of celebrations going on throughout Washington State that your organization can promote and partner with. You can learn more about the day at nationalvoterregistrationday.org.
* Watch or attend an upcoming debate. Washington Nonprofits is pleased to be a part of the Washington State Debate Coalition, which was founded in 2016 to increase the frequency and quality of publicly accessible nonpartisan debates in Washington. The Coalition has released the dates for its free, public debates for this fall’s U.S. Senate and WA-8th District elections**. If your organization is located near where the debates are taking place, please circulate the information throughout your network. You can also use this toolkit from the Coalition as a starting point for planning a debate watch party or other activities to engage your organization. Debate dates are:
- Monday, October 8—Pacific Lutheran University, 12:30 p.m. (U.S. Senate – Pending U.S. Senate Scheduling)
- Wednesday, October 17—Central Washington University, 7 p.m. (WA-8thDistrict)
- Saturday, October 20—Gonzaga University, 3 p.m. (U.S. Senate – Pending U.S. Senate Scheduling)
* Share voting resources from Best Colleges with college students. College students in particular are generally less engaged in elections than other groups. Best Colleges has put together a Student Voters Guide that has information on how to vote for students, as well as overviews of the issues that matter to college students. Click here to view the resources.
Please let us know if we can be helpful to your organization as opportunities come up for voter engagement. If you are planning something that we can help circulate or highlight, please share it with us!
** Invitations to participate in the debates were extended to Maria Cantwell, Susan Hutchison, Dino Rossi, and Kim Schrier following the primary results. The Coalition has confirmed the participation of Susan Hutchison, Dino Rossi, and Kim Schrier. Read the full press release to learn more about the debate dates and hosts. For more information the Coalition process, please read the FAQs sheet.