With primaries in full swing, it's up to us to make sure everyone has the information and ability to cast their vote!
In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, here are five ways you can empower voters and defend democracy through volunteer work.
1. Register Voters
To make their voices heard, Americans need to register to vote – but voter registration opportunities are not created equally. Overly complicated or challenging registration processes are one of the most common forms of voter suppression, and they disproportionately impact communities of color.
By volunteering to register voters, you can be the difference in whether someone is able to cast their ballot. Local and state Leagues host countless voter registration drives, virtually and in-person, throughout the year; by joining, you can be a part of those efforts. You can also host your own drive or share voter registration tools in a matter of seconds by promoting VOTE411.org on your social media.
2. Spread the Word
Door-to-door canvassing is considered the best way to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) – in one study, it increased election turnout by 9 percentage points. But if that's not the route for you, don't worry: phonebanks, textbanks, direct mail, and literature drops are all effective ways to get out the vote.
Search for opportunities in your community – GOTV efforts are more effective when taken by locals. You should be able to find opportunities with certain candidates, for your political party, and with nonpartisan organizations.
3. Advocate for voting rights legislation
With proposed anti-voter legislation at a historic high, we the people must work to ensure that voting is fair, transparent, and accessible. An easy way to do so is by promoting pro-voter bills like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (JLVRAA), which would prevent discriminatory voting practices.
Click the above link to send a letter to your representatives in support of the JLVRAA, and keep up with local, state, and federal voting rights legislation by connecting with your local or state League or joining our OutreachCircle.
4. Get Your Friends to Follow the Leader
If it feels safe to do so, organize a carpool to the polls on your next election day (which you can find at VOTE411.org). It's an easy way to get your loved ones to vote, plus you can celebrate your civic engagement afterwards.
Can't carpool? Studies show that forming an election plan with someone makes them more likely to vote. In your next conversation, ask them how they're planning on voting, what time they'll stop by the polls, whether they'll walk or go by car, etc.
5. Support Voting Rights Organizations
You may not have time to spare, and that's okay. You can still volunteer your resources to defend democracy by supporting voting rights organizations like the League, Black Voters Matter, Native American Voting Rights, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Voto Latino, or any of the others that exist.
Find an organization with a mission that speaks to you and give what you can individually, start a fundraiser with friends, or ask for donations as a birthday/holiday gift. Don't worry if you can only give a small amount – many small donations can have a large impact.
Have more volunteer ideas? Share them with us on social media!
The Latest from the League
1. Sign the League of Women Voter’s Petition
There are many different roles election workers can play, from ensuring that polling places are accessible for those with disabilities to counting ballots to running a polling site.
To learn more, we interviewed Pinny Sheoran, president-elect of the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Isabel Longoria, former League of Women Voters of Texas Board member and current Harris County elections administrator, and Debra Cronmiller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, both of whom have extensive experience as election workers.
Here at the League of Women Voters of the United States, this is a time to reflect on the brave volunteers who fought for women’s access to the vote—and through doing so, first formed the League of Women Voters 95 years ago.