COVID-19 Issue Spotlight: Get Out The Vote!
The stakes are high, and that’s why our grantees are in overdrive working to “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) across Maine. These organizations are targeting communities who have historically been disenfranchised: People of Color, Immigrants, Indigenous folks, Women, Incarcerated and Homeless citizens. Below you’ll find resources and opportunities to support these efforts for all Mainers’ votes to be counted and their voices to be heard!
And, in the spirit of community care, we wanted to share an article that NPR published this week to help us stay calm as the election results roll in: “Election Stress Getting to You? 4 Ways to Keep Calm.”
Take care, and vote!
GOTV Initiatives & Resources
Democracy Maine, a collaboration between the League of Women Voters of Maine and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, plays a critical role in making our elections more equitable, inclusive, and accessible.
While voting during a pandemic has caused considerable concern, last week Democracy Maine shared some hopeful words, “of the 1 million+ registered voters in Maine, 20% of them have already voted absentee with ballots returned and accepted. We’re expecting a record turnout, and there’s something magical about that.”
Check out their list of voter resources below or visit their website here.
Call, text, or email folks at Democracy Maine with questions. They can answer things like: How do I register to vote? How does absentee voting work? What might be on my ballot? How does Ranked Choice Voting work?
They’ve put together this very handy Election Toolkit with social media graphics, posters, and flyers that encourage folks to vote! These materials are free to share, print, and distribute.
On November 3, trained League volunteers will monitor voting at polling places around the state, watching for issues such as long lines, equipment problems, and inadequate COVID precautions. They will work with attorneys and election officials to resolve problems, as well as producing a report on the overall integrity of the election. There is still time to volunteer!
In addition to all of these incredible resources, Democracy Maine also recommends folks check out Vote411.org/ballot for coverage of dozens of Maine communities. This includes ballot information at national, state, and local levels for voters to stay informed!
Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center
The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center’s (IWC)’s Citizenship and Civic Engagement program has been running a “Your Vote Matters Campaign,” leading up to the 2020 general election. The campaign is designed to emphasize the voting rights of Maine’s immigrant communities.
IWC writes, “There are currently 36,000 immigrants in Maine eligible or close to eligible to vote. We will canvas and leverage community partnerships to register voters and get them to the polls. We will focus on collective opportunities for early in-person absentee voting through mosques, churches, community associations, and other trusted community hubs. Non-voters will participate in all programming as we build an increasingly prepared and aware pipeline of future voters and civic participants.”
IWC’s Civic Engagement Team has held phone banking sessions, and has been canvassing each week leading up to the election to encourage and assist eligible voters to register and request absentee ballots.
(Pictured, IWC canvassing with the League of Women Voters of Maine and Common Purpose).
Grantees in Action!
In addition to the organizations above, many of our grantees are engaging in GOTV work in their communities:
Pictures from Cambodian Community Association Voter Registration Drives
Maine Immigrant’s Rights Coalition and Gateway Community Services have been working in partnership to support a strong voter turnout among Maine’s eligible Immigrant voters, including a November 3rd remote phone banking effort.
The Congolese Community Association and the Cambodian Community Association have been doing critical outreach to their communities to ensure that their constituents have what they need to vote.
Mano en Mano and Presente! Maine have been spreading the word to Maine’s Latinx community members who are eligible to vote about their civic rights.
Homeless Voices for Justice has been running their yearly “You Don’t Need a Home to Vote” campaign to encourage eligible houseless folks to vote.
Maine Youth Justice and Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition have been advocating for the voting rights of Maine’s incarcerated citizens, as Maine is one of the only states that allows folks in prison to vote.
Southern Maine Worker’s Center has been organizing their members to share GOTV resources, and creating virtual spaces for community members to come together post-election.