“I am a VOTER.” These were the words on my shirt when I wrote this blog. While I originally wore the shirt on Halloween, I plan to wear it again on Tuesday, November 6th when I go to the voting booth with a potentially historic number of my fellow Americans to vote in the mid-term election. In fact, many of you may have voted already since early voting is becoming more commonplace in 37 states.
In addition to the Federal offices (435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate) that are up for grabs this year, elections are being held in 49 of the 100 largest cities by population in 2018. This includes elections for 27 mayoral offices, as well as elections for county officials whose jurisdictions overlap with those cities. Thirty-six governorships and more than 6,000 legislative seats in 46 states are open, in addition to 30 attorney generals seats at stake. Elected officials at all levels make critical decisions that affect nonprofits like Goodwill® and the millions of individuals and families served.
Voters in 38 states will consider 154 ballot measures ranging from elections to taxes to operational issues. The outcome of the votes could ultimately impact the work, voice, and resources of charitable nonprofits and foundations in many states.
With so much at stake during this election year, voter turnout is crucial. Voter engagement is also critical to the work conducted by nonprofits. Some local Goodwill organizations incorporate voter engagement and education into their practices via holding voter registration drives, hosting candidate forums, and reminding both employees and people they serve of the benefits of voting.
Our friends at NonprofitVOTE have created some tools and resources to ensure that everyone can be informed before the upcoming elections:
- Voting in Your State: 50 state guide – Provides official links to your state election website on topics such as voter registration, polling place locator, absentee and early voting, voter ID and contacts to local election offices in cooperation with the National Association of Secretaries of State.
- “Time off to Vote” state laws – Provided by NOLO: Law for All.
- 866-OUR-VOTE is an election protection coalition and hotline number. To contact them, dial 888-VEY-Y-VOTA or 888-API-VOTE.
- Finally, don’t forget to bring ID to the polls! Print some vote riders voter ID wallet cards to remind you of what your state accepts.
Your vote is a representation of your voice and opens the door for other ways for you to be engaged and create a relationship with your lawmakers. Whether the election turns out the way you wanted or not, you can wear your “I Voted” sticker proudly on Tuesday and know that you helped make a difference.