The 2020 election has officially begun. Even though there are 42 days until polling places open on November 3, voters in my home state of North Carolina have already received absentee ballots. In fact, voters in 23 states and counting have already begun absentee voting.
Because time is of the essence, you may be wondering the best ways to support civic participation at this pivotal moment in our country’s history. Voting is a vital way Americans come together to shape our future. And regardless of where you sit politically, we know that free and fair elections are foundational to our democracy.
It’s not too late to get involved. SVCF recently hosted an educational webinar for our donors with Fair Count and Fair Fight founder and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams. She suggested prioritizing your giving and volunteer efforts around these core issues:
- Voter Registration – Help others express their voice. Today, September 22, is National Voter Registration Day and you can check your registration status here.
- Voter Education & Outreach – Inform voters of their voting options, which vary by state.
- Voting Mechanics – Ensure election administrators have the resources needed, including poll workers. Consider volunteering with Asian Law Caucus' poll monitoring program – the largest program in the United States and also funded by SVCF.
Where do you start? To help you navigate the many organizations vital to civic engagement efforts, SVCF has developed a giving guide to highlight some of the leading organizations strengthening civic participation in Silicon Valley. And just as every vote counts, so does every dollar. You can make an impact with a gift of any size to these organizations, whether $100 or $100,000. If you’re curious to dig deeper, the SVCF team is here to help you learn more and activate your Donor Advised Fund to get involved.
How else can you contribute? This foundational work to strengthen our democracy is an all-hands-on-deck effort. Beyond making a financial gift, you can give your time as a volunteer poll worker or nonpartisan election protection volunteer, support your neighbors in developing a voting plan, call your elected officials to advocate for pro-voter policies, or participate in a socially-distanced voter registration drive. If you’re an employer or manager, make it as easy as possible for employees to vote when it’s most convenient for them.
If you are like myself, easily overwhelmed by choices, consider an entry point that aligns with your skill sets or passion. For me, that means writing letters. Within just one hour, I can send 50 letters to historically underrepresented voters to help increase turnout, so the electorate better reflects our state’s diversity. You can get out the vote and support USPS at the same time!
No one wants to wake up on November 4 wishing they had done more. One of the greatest ways we can show our love of humanity – the origin of the word philanthropy – is to ensure we all have a voice in our collective future.