Research by the nonpartisan Easy Voter Guide Project shows that one of the major reasons individuals don’t vote is because they think the voting process is difficult. That same study also found that many first-time voters can’t read the official ballot pamphlet or sample ballot, are uncertain about what will happen at the polls, and think that voting feels like taking a test. Moreover, the study also revealed “performance anxiety” across all voter types.
Nonprofits can help assuage these anxieties by making sample ballots and voter guides available (ideally in multiple languages). Armed with these tools, every voter—new or experienced—can feel confident and secure when they head to the polls.
Depending on where you live, your ballot might read like a small receipt or an encyclopedia. It never hurts to read up. You can use our website to find your sample ballot.
Voter guides are often available from a number of sources, such as your local branch of the League of Women Voters, newspapers, or other nonpartisan groups. For example, the California Voter Foundation published its nonpartisan 2010 Online Voter Guide to help Californians approach the 2010 ballot where “a typical voter will confront at least twenty voting decisions.”
You can also visit Ballotpedia for comprehensive information on the ballot measures in your state. And if you’re looking for information on the candidates, the Vote Easy tool is a fun and simple way to find out how closely political candidates identify with your views on 12 different issues.
Making sample ballots and nonpartisan voter guides available to staff, volunteers, and clients is one of the many easy and safe ways nonprofits can conduct voter engagement activities. For more ideas and resources on what nonprofits can do, visit our website.