In his address in Selma earlier this month, President Obama asked, “What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?”
Despite the passage of the Voting Rights Act, voting isn’t always easy. But today it’s a different kind of battle. Amidst changing rules and regulations, registration deadlines, new ID requirements, and busy schedules many Americans aren’t making it to the polls. Just as voting in every election becomes a habit, so does sitting out an election.
Turnout varies widely in different communities and among demographic groups. The younger, lower income, and more diverse populations served by nonprofits are dramatically underrepresented at the polls. However, research demonstrates that nonprofits can boost turnout among these groups and close participation gaps. In addition to providing practical information about when and where to vote, nonprofits can also make elections relevant to the people we serve. As Michael McDonald (who will be presenting on our March 19 webinar) pointed out in a recent LA Times article, “It’s often these local governments that determine policy issues about policing, education, transportation, infrastructure, all of these things that more directly relate to people’s everyday lives than who the president of the United States is.”
Join us in honoring the hard-won victories of our predecessors by ensuring that as many Americans as possible cast a ballot on Election Day. Browse our resources for ideas and learn more about our partners and how to become one.