by: Glynis Seeley, Department of Nevada National Executive Committeewoman
I VOTED! Many of us are proud to leave our polling places on Election Day wearing that sticker. We take pride in receiving it after we have exercised our right to cast a vote. How can we share that feeling with others? How can we motivate them to feel that same sense of pride and get them out to vote?
Submitted by Glynis Seeley, National Americanism Western Division Chairman
“Get Out the Vote” is a brochure published by The American Legion that is full of great ideas for posts and units working together to accomplish voter turnout. It can be found at www.legion.org/vote.
Remember: We are a nonpartisan organization, meaning we cannot show favor to one political party over another. We are allowed to invite candidates to come speak — strictly on veteran-related issues – however, if we invite one candidate, we need to invite them all.
Many people don’t vote just because they can’t get to their polling places. Organizing a voter transportation/car pool would take an organizer, a point of contact and some folks willing to be drivers. Auxiliary members can find one central location, either a post home, a members home, or some other community-related location. They could meet there and work out of one “hub.” Put an ad in the local paper letting your community know that if they call one phone number, there would be an American Legion Auxiliary member available to pick them up, take them to exercise their civic duty by voting, and drive them home.
A few weeks prior to election day, hold a fundraiser dinner, bake sale, or something to offset the cost of gas that your members would be using on Election Day.
Offer to provide childcare if needed. Young women are especially grateful for a few minutes away to be able to think and cast their vote without having to worry about how to get to and from the polls with their children.
Remember to use branding and wear your Auxiliary pins and shirts. Make sure you also have info set aside to share about the Auxiliary just in case you get asked. No political pins should be worn since we are a nonpartisan organization.
There are more ideas and plans in the Get Out the Vote brochure. There are also numerous resources available to learn about candidates, their parties, issues, election activities, etc. included in the brochure. Examples include:
RealClearPolitics www.realclearpolitics.com is a nonpartisan curator of daily election- and campaign-related materials.
Project Vote-Smart (PVS) www.votesmart.org is a political research organization designed to engage and educate voters. The site includes detailed information on candidates, such as their background and voting record.
National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) http://www.nass.org Find out here if you are registered, if your voting record is up-to-date, and download registration forms. NASS contains numerous links to voting-related websites.
While there are many thoughts and opinions about candidates running for election, including your own, working a voter registration drive is not the time and place to share them. The main purpose is to Get Out the Vote. In the words of George Jean Nathan, drama critic and American editor, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
Voting is very personal, and members of the American Legion Auxiliary know all too well the sacrifices made by the women and men in our Armed Forces to keep our freedoms and our way of life alive. We take voting seriously. Maybe it’s time we show others how much it means to us, and they in turn will catch our enthusiasm.
This article was originally published in the American Legion Auxiliary In the Know Bulletin 11 October 2016.