As the end of this tumultuous year fast approaches, we here in the U.S. are faced with the daunting task of electing our leaders for the next four years. In the face of global pandemic, brutal racism, ever-increasing inequality, and environmental decline, our current president has failed to provide our country with the tools it needs to move towards a better future. Though voting will never replace the power of grassroots community organizing and direct action, it is a vital step toward having our voices heard by the people who have the power to effect real change.
As we celebrate National Voter Registration Day today, use this guide to learn about the voting process, what’s at stake, and how you can go the extra mile.
ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE?
When and how to register:
Vote.org is the largest 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan voting registration and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) technology platform in America. It has registered more than 4.5 million new voters, verified 10.5 million voters’ registration status, and has helped over 39 million website users by providing registration links and deadlines, polling location details, and other essential voting information for each state.
HeadCount is a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy. Use their Voter Info Hub to keep track of early voting registration guidelines and dates in your state.
Request an absentee ballot:
VotER is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. Our goal is to provide patients the opportunity to register to vote because much of our healthcare system and healthcare experiences are determined by the policies our elected officials implement.
For candidate and ballot information:
Launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) in October of 2006, VOTE411.org is a "one-stop-shop" for election related information. It provides nonpartisan information to the public with both general and state-specific information.
How to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Healthy Voting helps you find healthy, secure, and safe ways to cast your ballot this year. Healthy voting practices protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the spread of COVID-19.
Get informed on voting laws:
The State Voting Rights Tracker by the Voting Rights Lab represents an unprecedented, multi-year effort to document and analyze voting and election laws across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Tracker also includes detailed, near-real time analysis on voting rights legislation pending across the country.
Resources for voters with disabilities:
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the over 60 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation.
Get election reminders:
Rock the Vote is a non-profit left wing/progressive-aligned organization in the United States whose stated mission is "to engage and build the political power of young people." The organization was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America Co-Chairman Jeff Ayeroff, to encourage young people to vote.
Still have questions?
Use the linked form to submit your question, and if you would like, record your question as a voice memo and upload it. An NPR producer may be in touch with you for future reporting.
IF YOU'RE IN A SWING STATE
(Swing states include: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin)
Stay up to date:
Every week through Election Day, The New York Times will bring you dispatches from the swing states to help explain how voters see the race and what issues are driving it.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Understand the issues:
Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. Use their comprehensive guide to read up on the issues you care about.
Find out using the American Association of University Women Action Fund’s 2020 Voter Issue Guide. This helpful handout provides concise information about key policy issues in the election, including voter access, the gender pay gap, family leave and paid sick days, college affordability, campus sexual violence, and reproductive rights.
Boiling Point is an LA Times newsletter for people who care about the environment and climate across California, the American West and the globe. Check in regularly for new information regarding global climate.
In the news:
We’re Leaving Early’s popular Instagram is a guide to staying informed without losing your mind. Find resources for early voting and stay up to date on progressive issues with clear infographics and accessible language.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Power the Polls is an initiative to recruit a new wave of poll workers to staff in-person voting locations and ensure a safe, fair Election Day for all voters. If you feel safe, volunteer to help keep our elections trustworthy.
Ensure a fair election:
Generation Progress is a national advocacy and education organization that promotes progressive solutions to the political and social issues that matter to young people between the ages of 18 and 35. They strive to uplift the voices and leadership of young people across the country to ensure that their perspectives and needs are represented in policy-making spaces at all levels of government.
Protect against voter suppression:
More Than a Vote is an organization of Black athletes and artists working together. Our priority right now is combating systemic, racist voter suppression by educating, energizing, and protecting our community in 2020.
Vote to Live, a 501c3 campaign created by The Collective, takes a two-pronged approach to engaging Black voters this election: first through innovative and distributed voter registration initiatives and through an extensive voter education effort.
According to its site, California Native Vote Project, or CNVP, is the first-of-its-kind statewide effort to engage Native American communities across dozens of counties to build political power through an integrated voter engagement strategy.
MOBILIZE YOUR ART
Nurture the next generation of artists:
Inner-City Arts uses arts education to positively affect the lives of inner-city children, improving their chances to lead productive and successful lives by developing creativity, improving learning skills and building self-confidence.
Take your skills global:
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Online volunteering allows organizations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device.
Reimagine the system:
The Art for Justice Fund is disrupting mass incarceration by funding artists and advocates working together to reform our criminal justice system. The Fund disrupts the very processes and policies that lead to high prison populations in the first place.
Learn how to make your art count:
The Center for Artistic Activism identified that the fields of culture, art, and creativity are key to social justice work because these elements create opportunities for people marginalized from other spheres of influence such as law, politics and business to use their own unique perspectives to gain power, representation and real political change.
Involve the next generation:
CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, is a non-partisan, independent research organization focused on youth civic engagement in the United States. The Youth Media-Making Toolkit promotes youth voice, voting, and democratic participation through media creation.
Got more to suggest for our list of resources? Hit up [email protected].