Rules of the Game: Nonpartisan Voter Engagement with Nonprofit Vote’s Brian Miller

Podcast

Tim Mooney, Quyen Tu

Topics

Community Organizing, Election Related Activities, Influencing Legislation


On this edition we chat with Nonprofit Vote Executive Director Brian Miller about the organization’s efforts to expand nonpartisan voter engagement, the fascinating findings in its latest Nonprofit Power Report, and the challenges and strategies for a successful nonpartisan campaign.

Our Attorneys for this Episode:

Tim Mooney Quyen Tu

Special Guest

Brian Miller, Executive Director, Nonprofit VOTE

In this Episode:

About Nonprofit Vote

  • National organization providing resources and training to help nonprofits engage communities in voting and elections.
  • Resources include guides on staying nonpartisan, running voter registration drives, and understanding relevant regulations.

Why Nonprofit Voter Engagement Matters

  • Fosters an inclusive democracy by narrowing gaps in voter participation along lines of race, income, and age.
  • Nonprofits serve as secondary actors with motivations to ensure their communities have a voice in democracy, unlike political campaigns that focus on likely voters.

The Nonprofit Power Report

  • Updated version analyzed voter data from nonprofits in eight states during the last midterm election.
  • Key Findings:
    • Nonprofit-engaged voters were more likely to be low income, younger, and voters of color.
    • Nonprofit engagement boosted voter turnout by 10 percentage points on average.
    • Higher turnout rates were observed for voters of color (+12%), young voters (+14%), and low-income voters (+15%).

Challenges and Solutions in Voter Engagement

  • Common barriers include perceptions of partisanship and lack of resources.
  • Importance of understanding legal boundaries to overcome partisanship concerns.
  • Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Initiative partners with foundations to provide resources and support for voter engagement.

Strategies for Effective Voter Engagement

  • Reverse door-knocking for organizations with high foot traffic (e.g., food pantries, community health centers).
  • Incorporating voter engagement into community outreach for issue-focused groups (e.g., environmental organizations).
  • Leveraging trusted relationships and human interaction alongside technology (e.g., online voter registration).

Role of Technology and AI

  • Online voter registration and the importance of balancing technology with human interaction.
  • Ensuring accessibility and reliability of information, especially with the rise of AI-generated misinformation.
  • Encouraging use of trusted sources like .gov addresses for accurate information.

Engaging Underrepresented Communities

  • Importance of working through existing nonprofits with cultural competency.
  • Ensuring accessibility in communications and polling locations for people with disabilities.
  • Examples of best practices and collaborations with organizations like the National Disability Rights Network.

Resources