Nonprofits who are wary of election-related activities for fear of losing their 501(c)(3) status need not fear voter registration work – especially in Minnesota, where some nonprofit organizations are actually required to conduct voter registration for their employees and constituents.
At the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ June 3rd Voter Mobilization kickoff event, coordinator Josh Winters cited statute 201.162 to Minnpost.com:
“… [A] nonprofit corporation that contracts with the state agency to carry out obligations of the state agency shall provide voter registration services for employees and the public. A person may complete a voter registration application or apply to change a voter registration name or address if the person has the proper qualifications on the date of application. Nonpartisan voter registration assistance, including routinely asking members of the public served by the agency whether they would like to register to vote and, if necessary, assisting them in preparing the registration forms must be part of the job of appropriate agency employees.”
(And Minnesota isn’t alone. Many other states have similar regulations for agencies that contract with the state, including…………)
Other states encourage 501(c)(3)s to engage in voter registration services on a nonpartisan basis. Contact your Secretary of State for more information. To learn more about conducting nonpartisan election-related activities such as voter registration, sample ballot distribution and candidate forums, read NVEN’s Toolkits or visit the 501(c)(3) Guidelines page on NonprofitVOTE.org.