By Laura Walling, GII senior director of government affairs, advocacy & legislative affairs
With all of the excitement around Halloween (one of the busiest times at Goodwill®, as people shop for their creative costumes and thus contribute to the mission), and the Washington Nationals winning the World Series – it’s easy to overlook the fact that Election Day will soon be upon us. “Off-year” elections are a chance for voters to elect men and women who will have immediate impacts on their daily lives. Several states will be holding elections this November 5. Voters in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi will elect their Governors, Lieutenant Governors, Attorneys General and Secretaries of State. According to Ballotpedia, more than 500 statehouse seats will be on the ballot as well in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia.
Every eligible American voter should exercise his or her right to be heard in every election. Several local Goodwill organizations helped people find the right place to get started by engaging in National Voter Registration Day. While charitable nonprofit organizations like Goodwill cannot engage in activities in support of or opposition to candidates for public office, they can and do promote nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities, and raise the public’s awareness of critical ballot measures.
Held on September 24, local Goodwills were among the 4,083 community partners who worked with 19,816 volunteers to collect 473,725 new or updated voter registration forms during the record-breaking holiday by hosting voter registration drives and raising awareness on social media platforms around the importance of voting.
More than 1,000,000 face-to-face engagements with citizens (some already registered) took place, demonstrating the scope of the voter registration conversation happening across the country. However the work is not finished. Now these newly registered voters have to come out and vote on November 5. Below are resources to help ensure that all voters are indeed #VoteReady!
- Find Your Polling Place — One can find their polling place via Rock the Vote, Vote.Org and TurboVote or your local election offices.
- Election Day Hotlines – 866-OUR-VOTE is a resource if experiencing problems at the polls. It’s available in Spanish at 866-VE-Y-VOTA. There’s a similar hotline at 888-API-VOTE with operators fluent in several Asian languages. The Arab American Institute has a number for Arabic speakers, too, at 844-YALLA-US.
- Voter ID Services – Some states require a form of ID when voting. Visit VoteRiders for Voter ID assistance or call/text 844-338-8743.