This November, voters will elect the president, 33 U.S. senators, every member of the House of Representatives, and countless others in state and local races. 220 million Americans are eligible to vote, including over 25 million young people and new citizens eligible for the first time. But who will turnout?
Voter turnout will be the key, not just to who wins, but to what voters and which communities are heard after Election Day. In 2010, 6 of 10 eligible voters didn’t turnout, and a disproportionate number were younger and lower income.
Many don’t vote because they are not asked to or reminded by a friend or organization close to them. Small things, like forgetting to request a mail ballot or missing a registration deadline, can get in the way.
Our nonprofits can change that. We are a powerful civic force whose status as trusted messengers and personal relationships with the people we serve every day has the potential to reach and engage large underrepresented populations. Whether your agency helps 10 families, houses 200 residents, or serves 5,000 people, you can improve the lives of your clients and constituents by encouraging them to be active in the democratic process.
Nonprofit VOTE makes it easy with clear and concise resources and materials to help you learn how to encourage voter participation. Nonprofit voter engagement can take a variety of forms: you can register voters, educate your clients and constituents about the voting process, engage candidates, or take a stand on a ballot measure. Browse our resources and get started today!
Together, we can raise our voices and encourage everyone to become a voter in 2012. As Susan Dreyfus, the president of the Alliance for Children and Families asked, “Who better than the nonprofit human services sector to embrace participation in the democratic process as a part of how we achieve our missions?”
George Pillsbury is the founder and Director of Nonprofit VOTE, as well as the author of “Nonprofits, Voting, and Elections: A Guide to Nonpartisan Voter Engagement for 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organizations”. He also founded and directed MassVOTE and started several foundations dedicated to community uplift. His work in the fields of philanthropy, social investing, and voter and civic participation spans three decades.