A Message from the AAUW President
Throughout the It’s My Vote: I Will be Heard campaign, I’ve been impressed by the creativity of AAUW staff and members nationwide. How many ways can you urge someone to register to vote? Here’s just a few of the more innovative ways: marching in a parade, setting up a campus table at the class add/drop line, getting permission from teachers or professors to come into class to register students, tabling at farmers’ markets and movie screenings, catching newly-relocated college freshman during orientation, putting a cool app on your website, and so many others.
AAUW and the AAUW Action Fund are in the home stretch of our voter registration efforts for this election. Next week is National Voter Registration Day, so coined because it’s close to the registration cutoff date for several states. That means we need to be pulling out all the stops to get people registered—especially young women—now! There is not a moment to lose as we work towards increasing the turnout of millennial women for Election 2012.
Putting together a voter registration effort is easier than you think – and there is still plenty of time to set one up. In fact, your own state’s voter registration deadline might be as much as a few weeks later. I hope you’ll contact our able AAUW policy staff at VoterEd@aauw.org if you have any questions. They can help inspire you, and provide great materials to help make your event fun! Let your state public policy chair know about your efforts, too. We’re all in this together, and we will be heard!
Yours in AAUW,
- Featuring AAUW branches from Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
- Are the Presidential Campaigns Ignoring Civil Rights?
- Presidential Candidates Differ on Higher Education Affordability
- Rising Transfer Rates from Community Colleges
- Low-Income Voters Show Up at the Polls at Disproportionately Low Rates
- Political Ad Donors to Remain Secret
- Instructions for It’s My Vote Postcards
- Early Voting Has Already Started in Some States
- Voter Mobilization Efforts
- AAUW Hosts Tweet Chat with Sandra Fluke
- AAUW Partners with Long Distance Voter Project
- West Virginia AAUW Brings Voter Registration into the Classroom
- California Begins Online Voter Registration
- Voter Suppression Concerns
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court Sends Voter ID Law Back to Lower Court
- Planned Parenthood Joins the Voter ID, Marriage Equality Fights
- Voter ID Laws Could Reduce Turnout from Young Minority Voters
- Over Half of Young Voters Uncertain of Their Registration Status
- NEW: AAUW Releases Fact Sheets on Key Campaign Issues
- NEW: AAUW Action Fund Rolls Out It’s My Vote Facebook Page
- NEW: It’s My Vote: I Will be Heard Pins!
- NEW: Social Media Efforts
- Free Webinars Offer Information about Voter Education, Mobilization, and Registration!
- Action Network: Recruit Members AND Advertise It’s My Vote Events
- Build Your Own Voter Turnout Coalition: It’s Easier Than You Think!
The Southeast Valley branch in Arizona will present “Understanding the AZ Ballot Measures” on Monday, October 15, at the Oakwood Country Club Ballroom in Sun Lakes. It’s My Vote: I Will be Heard materials will be available. Attendees will hear from speaker Michael Valder, one of the founders and the first president of the Clean Elections Institute and once a principal organizer in the Arizona Advocacy Network. The program will be followed by a branch general meeting.
The San Clemente-Capistrano Bay branch in California attended Saddleback College’s “Free Speech Area.”They handed out voter registration forms, passed out AAUW brochures, and talked about college/AAUW partnerships. See photo at right.
The San Carlos branch in California is registering young women by staffing voter registration tables at Cañada College, a community college in Redwood City, and Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. The voter registration table at Cañada is located adjacent to the coffee and snack kiosk, at an intersection most students have to pass as they change classes. The branch will also staff voter registration booths at the Belmont public library, with a total of 24 AAUW members participating in voter registration efforts.
Nevada County branch in California represented AAUW at the annual Constitution Day Parade inNevadaCity. See photo at left.
The Venice branch in Florida has joined with the Business and Professional Women and the League of Women Voters tofeature local candidates from the Sarasota Democratic and Republican parties on October 16. They will also be helping with voter registration at retirement communities, women’s resource centers, and other women’s organizations; enlisting their neighbors in voter outreach activities; and spreading the word via Facebook and other social media.
The Vero Beach branch in Florida held an event to register young voters on September 18th at Indian River State College. Together with the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, they registered young voters and introduced them to AAUW and the eStudent Affiliate program. They also did phone banking, targeting millennial women “drop-off” voters who went to the polls in 2008 but not 2010.
The Weston and Nova Southeastern University branches in Florida are launching “Get Out the Vote” telephonebanks in Broward County.The branches will be calling registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 to urge them to vote.
The Rochester branch in Michigan, in coordination with the Oakland/Macomb County Chapter of Michigan NOW, participated in a voter registration event at Oakland University on September 6. The occasion was a Rock4Rights celebration sponsored by the Oakland University Student Council and featured a variety of musical performances, including a rock band. Over two dozen students filled out voter registration applications, and AAUW collected 24 It’s My Vote, I Will Be Heard postcards. See picture at right.
AAUW of Montana joined with Bozeman Business and Professional Women to host a September 12th forum to educate voters on the Montana ballot initiatives. This November, Montana residents will be voting on five initiatives. This forum gave voters an overview with both the pros and cons of each initiative. At least 50 people attended the event.
AAUW volunteers in Nebraska have held over 15 voter registration and voter outreach events across Omaha, with over 20 more scheduled until the voter registration deadline in mid-October. Through continued alliance with the Omaha League of Women Voters and, more recently, the Kiwanis Club of Florence and Neighborhood Action and Fact, volunteer voter registrants have registered well over 250 Nebraskans to date. It’s My Vote Nebraska has networked with locally owned businesses such as Cubby’s, Inc. and Hyvee (both large regional grocery chains), The Omaha Star Newspaper, One Percent Productions, Jane’s Health Food Store, and Film Streams at The Ruth Sokolof Theater to holdregular voter registration events on site. In addition, Catholic Charities Christ Child North Center and Seven Oaks Retirement Center have extended AAUW Omaha Branch volunteers ongoing invitations to come and assist their clients with early voting request forms.
The Easton branch in Pennsylvania held a voter registration drive at Lafayette College on September 11 and 12.The branch was able to register 34 people to vote, and 33 of the people were millennials. See picture at left.
The Lansdale branch in Pennsylvania held a voter registration drive at Bryn Mawr College on September 11. With two volunteers, the branch was able to register 21 people, and all 21 were millennials! See picture at right.
The Oshkosh branch in Wisconsin has many “Get Out the Vote” efforts planned: on September 20 they held a Special Registration Deputy Training; on October 7 and 14 they will speak with and register new voters at four college sorority houses at the University of Wisconsin; and on October 11, they will register new voters at a Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration.
To have your branch’s events featured in Campaign Update or at www.aauwaction.org, email us at VoterEd@aauw.org.
Presidential Candidates Differ on Higher Education Affordability
The presidential candidates’ stances on the federal government’s role in higher education affordability is becoming more important as voters recognize that students need at least some post-secondary school training to succeed in the job market. President Obama has called for college to be more accessible and won Congress’ approval for a $10,000 college tax credit over four years, increases in Pell grants, and other financial aid. Republican presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney argues that increasing federal student aid encourages tuition to go up, and he wants to see private lenders return to the federal student loan program. Both agreed to block the doubling of interest rates on new federal Stafford loans this fall.
Rising Transfer Rates from Community Colleges
As college becomes more expensive, more students are beginning their college careers in community colleges. They tend to be more affordable, and students can transfer to four-year-institutions. New data collected by the National Student Clearinghouse reveals that 45 percent of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had previously enrolled at a two-year college.
Low-Income Voters Show Up at the Polls at Disproportionately Low Rates
Despite conservative talk show-host Rush Limbaugh’s claim that low-income voters “flock” to the polls, a CNN exit poll from 2008 shows the contrary. The poll finds that individuals making less than $15,000 a year made up 13 percent of the population, but just 6 percent of voters in 2008. Those making more than $200,000 a year made up just 3.8 percent of the population, but 6 percent of voters.
Political Ad Donors to Remain Secret
This Tuesday, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that political donors can continue to remain hidden from the public. Corporations and non-profit organizations are currently allowed to run issue ads that do not ask for a specific yes or no vote for a candidate while keeping their funding sources completely hidden. The appeals court ruled that this policy can be kept in place under the Federal Election Commission’s statue allowing for donor secrecy.
Instructions for It’s My Vote Postcards
Your branch can request It’s My Vote postcards to use for your get-out-the-vote efforts. Each postcard contains a voting pledge, an issue interest section, and a place to request more information about AAUW. Here’s what you need to know about the postcards:
- Hand out postcards to the public during events such as tabling, registration drives, and forums.
- Voters should complete their information and fill in their addresses.
- Voters should return the cards to AAUW volunteers before they leave the event or table.
- Keep a list of all the people who fill out postcards and their contact information so you can use that list for potential member recruitment, and to advertise upcoming It’s My Vote events.
- Send the list of names and contact information to VoterEd@aauw.org so AAUW can sign up those individuals for Two-Minute Activist alerts and inform them of other voter education resources and events.
- By Monday, October 1, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us how many postcards you have. We will send you the number of stamps needed.
- Mail the previously completed postcards as a reminder to vote!
Early Voting Has Already Started in Some States
In some states, early voting has already started. You can check the laws in your state here. If you were waiting for a good time to get involved, the time is now! The election is already underway with early voting, and we need your help more than ever to make sure every vote counts.
Voter Mobilization Efforts
AAUW Hosts Tweet Chat with Sandra Fluke
If you happened to be on Twitter on Tuesday, you might have seen a familiar hashtag — #itsmyvote — explode with activity and a known women’s rights activist tweet about our It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign. Sandra Fluke was a special guest in a tweet chat Tuesday hosted by AAUW and Fem2pt0. The #itsmyvote hashtag reached almost 400,000 Twitter accounts during the chat. Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) also joined us as a special guest, and FELN, Sandra, and AAUW Policy Director Lisa Maatz answered questions on motivating young female voters and election laws. Search #itsmyvote on Twitter to catch up!
AAUW Partners with Long Distance Voter Project
AAUW has become an official partner of the Long Distance Voter Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to simplifying the absentee voting process by providing state-by-state guides for registering to vote, checking your voter registration, and requesting an absentee ballot. This partnership will help AAUW continue to spread the word about voting, especially among college students, many of whom choose to request absentee ballots. Please share this new resource with your branch and the millennial women you are contacting!
West Virginia Brings Voter Registration into the Classroom
It’s My Vote West Virginia campaign organizer Amanda Barber is changing the way voter registration takes place on college campuses. Amanda has led the initiative to go into classrooms and engage students in conversations about why their vote matters. Students discuss the issues that affect them such as Pell grants and college affordability, and Amanda helps register anyone who wants to sign up. Consider working with professors at your local colleges/universities to replicate Amanda’s efforts!
California Begins Online Voter Registration
Starting next Wednesday, Californians can register to vote online. Since 2009, voters have been able to access a voter registration form online, but they had to print it out and mail itin; now they can complete the entire process, including submitting the application, online. Political scientists have predicted that this change could increase voter registration among young voters.
Voter Suppression Concerns
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Sends Voter ID Law Back to Lower Court
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court sent a controversial voter ID law back to a lower court on Tuesday and instructed the lower court to hold another hearing to determine whether the new law disenfranchises voters. The lower court has until October 2 to file its response, according to court documents. In August, the lower court upheld the law requiring that most voters show photo identification before casting ballots. The voter ID law will remain in effect until a decision is reached.
Planned Parenthood Joins the Voter ID, Marriage Equality Fights
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota has taken a public stand against two constitutional amendments on the ballot in Minnesota this fall. One measure bans same-sex marriage and the other would pass a restrictive voter ID requirement. The group says it is getting involved because both issues matter to the people Planned Parenthood serves.
Voter ID Laws Could Reduce Turnout from Young Minority Voters
A study released by the University of Chicago and Washington University, St. Louis reports that as many as 700,000 minority voters under age 30 may be unable to cast a ballot in November because of photo ID laws in certain states. The lower turnout could affect several House races as well as the tight presidential contest. An earlier analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school found that 11 percent of Americans lack a government-issued photo ID such as a passport, driver’s license, state ID card, or military ID and 9 percent of whites don’t have such ID, compared with 25 percent of blacks and 16 percent of Hispanics.
Over Half of Young Voters Uncertain of Their Registration Status
HeadCount, a nonpartisan voter registration group, conducted a survey of young voters who were first eligible to vote in the 2008 presidential race. They found that 52 percent of these newer voters say they do not know whether or not they are registered to vote at their current address. Some states’ new voter ID laws have made registration at one’s current address a legal requirement. Check your voter registration status online, and encourage others to do the same. Not registered to vote? Register today through AAUW’s website!
NEW: AAUW Releases Fact Sheets on Key Campaign Issues
AAUW’s It’s My Vote. I Will be Heard campaign has released four new fact sheets, one for each of the issue focus areas: access to birth control, employment opportunities, college affordability, and fair pay. You can use the issue fact sheets for: voter registration drives (should be placed on a separate table), informational tabling events, canvassing, phone-banking (when referencing an issue), and more. Download your copies today!
NEW: AAUW Action Fund Rolls Out It’s My Vote Facebook Page
We already know that you like the It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign, so let’s make it official:Like our new It’s My Vote Facebook page! Whether you like us from your personal account or an AAUW account, please share our content with your friends and fans! Look to the It’s My Vote Facebook page for memes, pep talks, blogs, inspiration, voting information, and election-related humor. In return, we’ll look to your state It’s My Vote Facebook pages for content we can help publicize. Let’s connect!
NEW It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard Materials!
AAUW has produced It’s My Vote pins to help spread the word about our voter education campaign and get people excited about voting! The pins are now available, along with the It’s My Vote stickers, temporary tattoos, and reminder postcards. If you have any questions about the postcards, or if your branch is interested in receiving postcards, stickers, or tattoos to distribute to the public, please email VoterEd@aauw.org.
NEW: Social Media Efforts
AAUW has been hard at work in utilizing various social media avenues to spread information and encourage participation in the 2012 election. AAUW uses Tumblr, Twitter, AAUW Dialog (our blog), YouTube, and Facebook to quickly, concisely, and effectively spread information to millennial voters and generate excitement among young women! Check out our new It’s My Vote: I Will be Heard cover photos for Facebook. Change your cover photo today to show your AAUW spirit, and please share widely!
Free Webinars About Voter Education, Mobilization, and Registration!
The New Organizing Institute is offering free webinars (or web-seminars) on a variety of issues, including voter registration, get-out-the-vote efforts, voter contact, and delivering campaign/issue messages, from now until October 20. If you are interested in learning more about strategies involved in these areas, or if you are looking for tips how to best organize, mobilize, or educate voters, sign up here!
Action Network: Recruit Members AND Advertise It’s My Vote Events
Visit AAUW’s Take Action web page, where AAUW members and supporters can sign up for Action Network. It is an excellent way to introduce potential members to AAUW’s advocacy and to develop a great contact list. You can also print out flyers online. Use flyers to sign up friends, family, and coworkers to Action Network. These flyers are great to use at branch events, community events, etc.
Build Your Own Voter Turnout Coalition: It’s Easier Than You Think!
Are you in a coalition with state or local AAUW affiliates and want the basics on how to grow your voter turnout capacity? Then explore AAUW’s Woman–to–Woman Voter Turnout: A Manual for Community– Based Campaigns to Mobilize Women to Vote. This guide will provide the framework for recruiting volunteers, building powerful coalitions, targeting potential voters and staying out of trouble! Email VoterEd@aauw.org for help in getting started!
AAUW is proud to work with Austin Women Vote, Bozeman Business and Professional Women, Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women, Kiwanis Club of Florence, Neighborhood Action and Fact, Colorado Business Women, The Institute for Women’s Studies and Services at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Family First Health, Montana Women’s Lobby, Montana Women Vote, National Organization for Women, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Northern Arizona University, North County Community Health Center, The White House Project, University of Colorado Denver, Women’s Collaborative for Colorado, Women’s Resource Center, League of Women Voters in various counties and states, Chester County Minority Caucus, National Women’s Political Caucus, Education Austin, and Zonta International’s Colorado Contingent!