National PTA Election Activities 101 2014 Election Activities Guide
Goals of the Presentation At the end of this presentation, you will understand: How to remain nonpartisan What your PTA can do How you can help with voter registration Permissible Election Day activities
Why should PTA’s pursue voter engagement? To advance the mission and values of PTATo increase voter turnout numbersTo build clout for the association To get PTA priorities in front of legislators and local leaders
Why are nonprofits suitable for voter engagement efforts? Have unique access to underrepresented populations Have trust and respect in the community Have proven effectiveness at engaging members and community
How to be nonpartisan: One IRS Rule Nonprofits (any 501c3 organization) may not donate money or resources to any candidate, nor may they endorse any candidate for office.
PREPARING FOR YOUR VOTER ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS: USING THE TIMELINE
Voter Registration and Engagement Timeline This can be found at www.pta.org/electionguides www.pta.org/electionguides
Leadership and Buy-In Choose a staff or volunteer lead for your efforts Get approval from your Executive Director or unit leader Make sure to get support from other members of your unit
Point of Contact Determine where your membership and community are going to come into contact with you to learn about your voter engagement efforts. Classes and trainings Meetings Community Events In the lobby or office of the PTA
Become Familiar with Voting Laws in Your State Know important dates and rules, such as: What is the law for ex-criminal offenders? What are early voting procedures? What are the voter ID laws? Visit Nonprofit VOTE’s website to use their Voting in Your State tool to find the answers to all those questions! http://www.nonprofitvote. org/voting-in-your-state/ http://www.nonprofitvote. org/voting-in-your-state/
Promoting vs. Conducting Voter Registration You PTA needs to choose whether it wants to promote voter registration or actually conduct it. Promoting: putting information on your website, sharing state links. You can share the Nonprofit VOTE voter registration tool, which can be found at http://www.nonprofitvote.org/new-voter- registration-tool/. http://www.nonprofitvote.org/new-voter- registration-tool/ Conducting voter registration requires your PTA to determine where and how it would like to do so.
Voter Registration: Tips Do the bulk of your voter registration activities in the 2- 3 months before the registration deadline Combine the registration drive with other PTA events Updating a voter’s address is just as important, to ensure they can go to the most convenient poll location Plan an event for National Voter Registration Day on September 23
Planning a Voter Registration Drive Have a plan and ensure all volunteers know about it Make sure you have the appropriate amount of staff and training Know your association’s registration goals Have a system in place for turning in completed registration forms
Candidate Forums Hosting a candidate forum is a great way to find out where each candidate stands on the issues important to your members. You must invite all candidates, although if one does not agree to come you may still hold the forum. Just be explicit that all candidates were invited. Ask questions on a variety of issues.
Candidate Appearances You may invite candidates to appear at your events. However, the rules are similar to the forum. All candidates must be invited, unless the person running for office is currently holding the office they are coming to speak about. For example, a member of Congress running for reelection may be invited solo as long as they are there to speak about their positions or accomplishments in office. It is important that candidates know their appearance is not a campaign event.
Candidate Questionnaires Your PTA may put together a candidate questionnaire to educate your members on the positions of the candidates. As with the forum and appearances, all candidates must be given the opportunity to answer your questions. If a candidate declines, you may still distribute the questionnaire, but you must indicate that all were asked. Ask questions on a variety of topics in order to give your members an unbiased look at their candidates.
Resources Please visit pta.org/electionguides for more information on candidate forums, appearances, and questionnaires.
Ballot Measures Ballot measures are considered lobbying, not electioneering. What does this mean? Unlike taking a partisan position on a candidate, a ballot measure is a policy proposal. PTAs already take positions on policies proposed by legislative leaders, so PTAs can take positions on ballot measures.
Ballot Measures Your PTA does not have to take a position, however. You can simply educate your members on what the ballot measure does. If your PTA chooses to take a position and actively lobbies for or against it, just remember to keep track of your activities for IRS reporting purposes.
Get Out The Vote! GOTV One important, and nonpartisan, activity that your PTA can do on election day is help get out the vote! Voting is an essential part of our democratic process, and PTAs can encourage community members to take part.
What does this look like? Encourage friends, family, and neighbors to vote. Remind PTA members about election day. Ensure that members know about early voting. If there are ballot measures, remind members of the importance of their vote on that issue. Raise the volume of your efforts as Election Day approaches.
On Election Day… Show support of Election Day by giving staff time to go vote. Ask your staff and volunteers if they voted and encourage them to do so. Celebrate democracy with an Election Day party.
Questions? Reach out to National PTA’s Government Affairs staff with any Election Day questions! Phone: 703-518-1200 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org