Monday, December 16, 2013

Voter education and turnout, what's legal and not for nonprofits

Nonprofits and community organizations can play a significant role in voter registration and education.   NonprofitVOTE has, for example, A Voter Participation Starter Kit, fact sheets―such as Getting Started with Voter Engagement, 501(c)(3) Permissible Activities Checklist, and What Nonprofit Staff Can Do―and archived webinars.   All the resources are designed to skill up nonprofit staff to effectively engage in allowable election-related activities.

The Fair Elections Legal Network also provides valuable resources.   For those interested in promoting voting among college students, download District of Columbia Student Voting Guide (2012) (PDF).   While the election information is dated, the fundamentals still apply.   Conducting Voter Registration Drives in the District of Columbia (2013) (PDF) summarizes rules about training for those engaged in voter registration drives and what applications can be used to register voters.

The standard bearers in the field are Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and The Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI).

AFJ's BolderAdvocacy dedicates a significant portion of their time and energy to helping nonprofits work within the rules.   Their work on electoral advocacy includes

CLPI contributes Nonprofits & Election-Related Activities (PDF), a summary of the do's and don'ts of such work by nonprofits.   CLPI has folded its other election-related work into NonprofitVOTE, mentioned above.

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