Nonprofits Can Get Out the Vote!

Mobilizing Staff and Low-Income Residents and Clients to Vote in November 6 Election

Shelterforce reminds us in its feature “The Answer” that nonprofits can get out the vote among their residents, clients and staff. And now is the time to make those final pushes around voter registration in New Jersey. The deadline to register to vote in New Jersey is Tuesday, October 16, 2018.Click here for the application to register to vote in New Jersey.

Once you have registered your low-income residents and clients and also staff to vote, remember that New Jersey offers registered voters the opportunity vote by mail. To vote by mail, the application for the ballot must be received by the Tuesday, October 30, 2018, seven days before the November 6, 2018 election. Click here for an application for the Vote by Mail ballot.

Shelterforce reminds us that nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations can:

  • Conduct nonpartisan voter registration drives
  • Conduct nonpartisan get-out-the-vote activities, such as handing out reminders, phone banking, and organizing carpools.
  • Get voters the information that they need to vote – including election dates and times, polling places, details on how to vote, ID requirements (or lack thereof), and voter rights (such as time off from work to vote)
  • Help residents, clients, and staff plan to vote.
  • In states where identification is required, help eligible voters who don’t have up-to-date ID secure or renew it
  • Give nonpartisan information about who is running or host a candidate forum.
  • Take a position on a ballot measure (subject to time and resource limits or lobbying.)

And here are some reminders about what nonprofit organizations can’t do:

“Participate in—or intervene in—any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office.”

  • This means your organization cannot endorse candidates, encourage people to vote a certain way, encourage people to register for a certain party, or only register those who identify with a certain party.
  • You also should not interact on social media with accounts associated with campaigns or partisan organizations with endorsed candidates.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has other ideas about how to mobilize low-income voters. And you can learn more through the NLIHC’s Our Homes Our Votes Campaign.

Get out the Vote

Our homes our Votes

Shelterforce

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