Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Partners,
These are challenging times. Like you, we are taking the CDC’s warnings about COVID-19 seriously – holding meetings virtually, working remotely, and more. It is our sincere hope that these social distancing interventions will save lives. Protecting our communities is paramount.
We are also looking closely at how COVID-19 impacts the ongoing work of democracy-building, from census count work and the presidential primaries currently underway, to voter engagement work ahead of the November elections. We know practicing social distancing will impact our democratic institutions – we’ve already seen five states postpone their primaries while other states are moving polling locations out of senior centers and engaging in deep cleaning of polling sites. Many groups, including us, are looking at absentee/mail-in ballots as a way to ensure that elections can proceed while protecting the health of voters and poll workers alike. There are shifts being discussed with the census as well.
Social distancing – especially if this crisis continues for months – will also fundamentally alter how nonprofits engage the communities they serve. It will impact how health centers operate, how food pantries support those in need, and much more. Our team is currently reviewing the resources and assets Nonprofit VOTE has available for nonprofits doing voter engagement, candidate engagement, get out the vote activities, and census count work in light of the new realities. We aim to be responsive to the new environment, because our democracy must go on and the voices of those most impacted must be heard, now more than ever.
We have identified some key areas — Absentee Ballots, Voter Registration, and Census — that will help your organization adjust to the new reality and offer strategies for continuing the important work of engaging voters despite the current challenges. We will be providing additional updates to our partners, including adjustments to our own supporting resources, in the days and weeks ahead.