Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EAC Issues Voter Guides in Native American and Alaska Native Languages

EAC - Citizens who speak Cherokee, Dakota, Navajo and Yup'ik, the most commonly spoken Native American and Alaska Native languages in the U.S., will now have access to federal election voter guides in their native languages.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Language Assistance Program translated the guides to improve voting accessibility for Americans who speak these languages and have limited English proficiency.

The guide explains the basics of ballot casting as well as special voting procedures, such as early voting, absentee voting, and military and overseas voting. Read more.

View the guides.

(Photo source - PBS)


Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Poll: The Latino Vote in 2010

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund released the findings of a comprehensive survey of 1,600 Latino registered voters in four states with open or competitive gubernatorial or senatorial contests this November – California, Colorado, Florida and Texas. With three out of five potential Latino voters residing in these four states, the survey offers the most current insight into Latino voter opinions on a variety of issues.

Key findings include:

  • An overwhelming majority (61%) of Latino registered voters surveyed say they will “definitely” vote in the November midterm elections; this despite the historically low voter participation in “off-year” elections.

  • The current debate around the issue of immigration is playing a significant role in the political decisions of registered Latino voters, including increasing the likelihood of voting, and influencing their selection of candidate.

  • Immigration has emerged as the top policy issue for Latino registered voters in these four states, overtaking economic issues, education and healthcare.
For more.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Follow up info from yesterday's webinar!

Thank you to all of you who attended yesterday's webinar "Voter Registration Basics for Nonprofits," with Bridgette Rongitsch and Julian Johannesen.
We appreciated all of your questions. Please don't hesitate to contact any of us with further questions. Our contact information is as follows:
Bridgette Rongitsch
National Director
Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network
phone: 651-757-3085

Robynne Curlee
State Outreach Coordinator
e-mail: rcurlee@nonprofitvote.org
phone: 651-757-3086

Julian Johannesen
Research and Technology Associate
phone: 617- 357-8683

You can download yesterday's PowerPoint presentation here. You can also download the audio portion of the presentation in MP3 format. In addition, you can view the presentation and listen to the audio online here.

You can also sign up for upcoming webinar and download our previous webinars by visiting our website's webinar page. Upcoming webinars appear at the top of the page and previous webinars appear at the bottom of the page.

All of our resources are available for download on our website. Visit our "Find Resources" page to learn more. Many of our publications are available to order, free of charge to 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Fill out the order form if you would like to order our upcoming, "Voter Participation Starter Kit for Nonprofits and Social Service Agencies."

To learn about voting in your state, visit your state page at NonprofitVote.org.
If you would like to link your page to ours, visit our web badge page.
We mentioned several quick facts and resources during the webinar. Here's a review:
Many states now allow you to check the status of your registration online, find out if your state does by visiting your state's page on our site:

States with ONLINE Voter Reg:
Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oregon, Utah, Washington

States with SAME DAY Voter Reg:
Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming and D.C. (North Dakota does not require voter registration)

States with Pre-Registration for 16 or17 years olds (depending on state):
California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island

Visit our site to download our Guide to Voter Registration

Visit Project Vote to download their state by state guides to voter registration

Visit Rock the Vote to learn about their voter registration tool and partnership program


Thursday, July 22, 2010

"There Oughta Be a Law"? Governor agrees, signs CA bill mandating polling places

A bill that guarantees California voters have a place in which to vote on Election Day has been signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Proposed by Palo Alto resident Lynn Silton and presented by State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), SB 1342 addresses the recent trend of mail-in voting, which has affected the availability of polling stations.

The idea was first developed by Redwood City resident Dennis McBride, who won Simitian's annual "There Oughta Be a Law" contest in 2007. Though Simitian later turned McBride's idea into a proposal that passed through the state legislature, the bill was vetoed by Schwarzenegger.

This year, Silton co-proposed the bill with McBride for the "There Oughta Be a Law" contest and was one of three winners.

"My concern was that I wasn't getting a choice," Silton said in a March 29 Palo Alto Weekly article. "I don't doubt the honesty of our current registrar, but whenever possible, citizens should be involved in the process."
Keep reading.

To read more about the problems with mail-in voting, see this earlier blog post

(Image source)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Miss Tomorrow's Webinar

Please join us for a special web training event tomorrow:

"Voter Registration for Nonprofits"
Thursday, July 22nd
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET

The webinar will review best practices for conducting voter registration at your agency or in your community. It will help you decide where and when to do voter registration and where to find voter registration resources.

There will be opportunities for question and answers throughout the training. The webinar will also highlight sources for voter participation materials and resources.

Registration is still open, so RSVP Now!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rock The Vote Launches New Tool

In an effort to engage more young voters, Rock the Vote is enlisting the help of partner organizations and ordinary citizens to put the word out to their respective online communities.

The voter registration tool can be easily embedded on websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and MySpace profiles, allowing almost anyone to spread the word and help register voters. You can even track statistics on your voter registrations!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Non-Citizen Voting in Portland, ME May Be on November Ballot

A proposal to allow non-U.S. citizens who are in this country legally the right to vote in the city of Portland, Maine is one step closer to reality.

On Wednesday, the League of Young Voters turned in more than 5,000 signatures for its legal resident voting petitions to the Portland city clerk. If the clerk validates more than 4,400 of the signatures, the issue will end up on the ballot in Portland in November.

The proposed charter amendment will allow immigrants to register to vote and cast ballots in municipal elections. However, they would not be allowed to vote on state and national issues.

The city's charter commission narrowly voted to reject the idea back in March. Upon the decision, immigrants vowed to start collecting petition signatures for the November ballot. "I guarantee you, we're coming back," said one of the leaders of the measure's movement.

Read more.

(Photo Source)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

8 States with Online Voter Registration

8 states now let voters with a state driver's license or state id register to vote online. They are Arizona, Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Louisiana, Colorado, Utah and Indiana. Along with the spread of Election Day registration, online registration will let more voters get registered at a lower cost for 2010.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lost Voters, Lost Votes

From the New Organizing Institute, June 2010 via electionline.org:

This report describes how in the November 2008 election an estimated 1.9 million voters did not cast a ballot because they did not know where to go, with the young and racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately likely to have difficulty locating their polling place. A comprehensive solution is suggested, including not only widespread internet access points and tools, but also mail, phone, and in-person outreach.

Lost Voters, Lost Votes: When Citizens Don’t Know Where to Vote, Democracy Loses


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saturday voting on the ballot in San Francisco

(Img src)
Question of the day: Why are there work holidays for the 4th of July, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, (and in Boston, Evacuation Day!)......but not for Election Day?

Seems strange when you consider that Election Day is not only an important day in our national consciousness and democratic tradition but, more importantly, is a day when most of the workforce needs to get to a polling place during working hours.

San Francisco voters will attempt to solve part of this problem in November with the Saturday Voting Act Ordinance, which will appear on the November ballot.

If the measure (which collected 7,168 signatures from registered San Francisco voters) is approved, the November 2011 election will see San Francisco voters going to the polls on the Saturday before the first Tuesday of November to elect their next mayor. If the pilot program is proven effective, then the measure urges the mayor and Board of Supervisors to figure out how to implement and pay for Saturday voting for future elections. (Read more at the San Francisco Examiner).

Australia, New Zealand and several other countries also hold their elections on Saturdays. Much of Europe holds their general elections on Sundays.

To learn more, visit Why Tuesday?.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Upcoming webinars on voter participation

We've finalized the dates of our nonprofit voter engagement webinar series for the 2010 midterm elections! Registration is now open...sign up!

Voter Registration for Nonprofits

Date and Time: Thursday July 22 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

Description: Doing voter registration for the 2010 election. The webinar will review best practices for conducting voter registration at your agency or in your community. It will help you decide where and when to do voter registration and where to find voter registration resources.

Register Now

Voter Participation Basics for Nonprofits

Date and Time: Thursday August 12 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

Description: This webinar will focus on principles and ideas for doing voter registration, voter education, engaging the candidates and getting out the vote -- in the course of activities you already do - with additional information about where to go for voter participation materials and resources.

Register Now

Voter Registration and Voter Education for Nonprofits

Date and Time: Thursday September 9th 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

Description: The two months before the election are a good time to focus on both voter registration and voter education. The webinar will review best practices for conducting voter registration at your agency or in your community and doing voter education.

Register Now

Voter Education for Nonprofits

Date and Time: Thursday September 23rd 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

Description: The final month before an election is a good time to focus on educating your constituents about the what, when, where and how of voting. The webinar will review best practices for conducting voter education at your agency or in your community.

Register Now

Voter Education and GOTV for Nonprofits

Date and Time: Thursday October 7th 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

Description: In the final weeks before the election, you will want to focus on both education and getting out the vote. This webinar will review best practices for doing both - at your agency or in your community.

Register Now

GOTV and Election Day for Nonprofits

Date and Time: Thursday October 14th 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

Description: In addition to working on getting out the vote in the weeks before Election Day there is a lot you can do on Election Day itself. This webinar will review best practices for doing both.

Register Now


Friday, July 9, 2010

Vote by Mail – Save Money, Lose Democracy?

More states and election administrators are considering switching to vote-by-mail as the only way voters can participate in an election. (July 2010 Issue of NCSL The Canvass) Cited are cost-saving effects of vote by mail systems as a way to save on Election Day polling place expenses. How might all vote-by-mail elections impact voting populations who move frequently, don’t use mail, have trouble with their mail delivery or are less literate or have other challenges voting by mail?

Vote by Mail can be cheaper. It is a convenience for some such as already regular voters. It particularly helps certain populations – seniors, disabled, rural. However, vote-by-mail not only has serious administrative issues - like thousands of ballots not arriving in time last month in Riverside, CA - it has the potential, also evident in all mail elections in California, to compromise the franchise of an entire class of people, particularly lower income, younger and new voter populations – making it a flawed step towards the goal of a complete participatory democracy. It should never be adopted as a stand alone system if it strengthens the franchise of some while disenfranchising others. Vote by mail, if done right, can work so long as there are equally convenient options to obtain and vote a ballot in-person during an early voting period or on Election Day.

California is one state that has seen a rapid increase in the number of mail-in ballots requested, issued and cast since 2003. With that increase has come an increase in mail-in ballots not counted – in fact thousands arrived too late for counting in a recent election in populous Riverside County. New legislation has been introduced to mandate that any ballot postmarked by election day be included in a county’s vote tally. (Under current law, ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted, regardless of when they were sent.)

Correcting administrative issues with mail-in ballots is important; there will always be those who truly need to vote absentee. Administrative issues aside, however, vote by mail practices don’t assist those who move frequently and don’t have an accurate address on file. These mobile voters tend to be low-income and/or young (18-30), already groups who tend to be underrepresented at the polls. Because of their frequent moves and, often, resultant inaccurate address files, these groups have far more difficulty in obtaining a mail-in ballot and the instructions on how to cast it than do their wealthier and more stable counterparts. A recent study by the Making Voting Work project of the Pew Center on the States noted the harmful and disenfranchising effects on the voter turnout of Latino voters and younger voters.

As a cost-saving strategy, moving to and encouraging vote by mail over in-person voting makes voting far more difficult for many of these voters, creating a disproportionately disenfranchising effect. Throw in the administrative problems with vote by mail, the harm to the secret ballot and the problematic turnout effect, and it becomes clear that vote by mail is not the boon to democracy that some election administrators claim it is.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Last Thursday's Webinar

We hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! We're back in the office and happy to report that while we were away, we got some great feedback from you on this past Thursday's webinar, “Voter Participation Basics for Nonprofits,” We appreciate your enthusiasm and support and we're already looking forward to our next webinar, "Voter Registration for Nonprofits," which will be held Thursday, July 22nd (click here if you'd like to RSVP).

If you were unable to attend Thursday's webinar, you can download the webinar PowerPoint presentation here. You can also download the audio portion of the presentation in MP3 format. In addition, you can view the presentation and listen to the audio online here.

You can also sign up for upcoming webinar and download our previous webinars by visiting our website's webinar page. Upcoming webinars appear at the top of the page and previous webinars appear at the bottom of the page.

Additionally, we were grateful for many great questions asked throughout Thursday's webinar. If you attended the webinar and have further questions please contact one of us. You can find our contact information at: http://www.nonprofitvote.org/CONTACT/Contacts/


Creating a digital trail for state legislatures

Tweets as part of the legislative record? Cool....

From The Thicket...

If your legislature uses Twitter, those Tweets, along with every other public tweet since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will now be archived digitally at the Library of Congress.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s (MHS) Model Technological and Social Architecture for the Preservation of State Government Digital Information Project is working on ways to preserve and provide enhanced online access to legislative materials in digital form.
This multi-year project, funded through the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), is working to implement a trustworthy information management system and is testing the capacity of different states to adopt and adapt the system for their own use. The project is exploring ways states can preserve and provide better long-term digital access to bills, committee reports, floor proceedings and other legislative materials. (Read more).

(Photo source)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Great Resource for those Living Abroad

The Overseas Vote Foundation website provides a wealth of information for those living abroad. The easy to follow website has a section devoted to youth voters, military personnel and those living abroad. Each section not only contains information regarding absentee voting and registration but it also contains election official information for each state and other important voting facts. The homepage even provides a low bandwidth option with limited graphics for those living in remote areas with limited internet access.


Getting Out the Youth Vote: What Works

CIRCLE, the leading source of information on youth voting, charts the recent uptick of youth voters (18-29) in the last two midterm elections. While still well below those 30 and over, it went up in 2002 and 2006 for the first time since 1982.

What’s making the difference? One is the greater effort by nonpartisan youth oriented voter mobilization campaigns. Another is a better sense of what works to encourage voting. Here are four tips ideas taken from their research:
  1. Personalized and interactive contact counts. The most effective way of getting a new voter – like any voter – is in-person contact by a peer. There is more evidence that the mobilization effect of a text message or social networking contact is an effective in-person contact from a peer, though actually in-person is still recommended.
  2. Begin with the basics. Telling a new voter where to vote, when to vote and how to use the voting machines increases turnout.
  3. In ethnic and immigrant communities, start young. The youngest voters in these communities are easier to reach, are more likely to speak English (cutting down translation costs), and are the most effective messengers within their communities.
  4. Initial mobilization produces repeat voters. If an individual has been motivated to get to the polls once, they are more likely to return. So, getting young people to vote early could be key to raising a new generation of voters.