Voter registration is a common nonpartisan activity for nonprofits. For example, nonprofits will:
1. Be nonpartisan. Nonprofit staff or volunteers may not suggest what candidate to support or party to join. In states that ask the person to choose a party affiliation, you may, however, explain to voters the difference between registering with a party and registering without party affiliation.
2. Follow your state’s voter registration laws and procedures. Voter registration differs in each state. Learn how to do voter registration in your state. Visit our official 50 State Guide to Voting in Your State to review registration guidelines, download forms or access online voter registration or registration look up tools. Contact your local election office. They can help by providing training, guidelines and forms for conducting voter registration drives.
Q: What if someone asks me who to vote for or what’s on the ballot?
Say that this is a nonpartisan effort and you can’t say who to vote for. Encourage the person to talk to a friend or family member they trust and share values with, or direct the person to a sample ballot or nonpartisan voter guide if available.
Q: What can I say about a ballot measure that our nonprofit supports or opposes?
Ballot measures are laws, not candidates. The IRS considers activity on ballot questions lobbying, not electioneering. You are free to cite the need to support or oppose a ballot measure as an important reason to register and vote. Or stay neutral.
Q: I understand certain federal funding for programs like Head Start and Medicaid either restrict or require voter registration? What federal funds have rules?