With the Republican and Democratic party conventions wrapping up, the 2012 election season has begun in earnest. What’s the best way to let politicians know about the issues that matter to you? The first step is voting! Elected officials know who votes – and they pay more attention to, make more appearances in, and appeal more to neighborhoods that turnout.
The 2012 elections are a great opportunity to organize your clients, staff, board and volunteers to vote. Many of the people that community behavioral health organizations serve are those who need the most help as new or returning voters in understanding the process and getting to the polls. Check out these resources to get started:
“Every Voice Matters” Webinar: On Tuesday, September 11 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. eastern, the National Council will hold a webinar on strategies for promoting voter engagement in the 2012 elections. In this webinar, you will learn:
- The inherent assets nonprofits have that make them strong organizers of voter participation
- The top 5 benefits of voter engagement to our field, our communities, and the nation
- Concrete strategies for building a voter engagement initiative in your community
- Resources you can use
Presenters: George Pillsbury, Founder and Executive Director, Nonprofit VOTE; Linda Nguyen, Director of Civic Engagement, Alliance for Children and Families; Rebecca Farley, Director of Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
Register free here.
Guide to Voting Rights for People with Mental Disabilities: The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the National Disability Rights Network have put together a guide to help consumers and advocates understand voting rights for people with mental disabilities. The guide covers voter competence requirements, photo identification laws, voter challenges based on mental competence, and the types of assistance to which voters have a right. An accompanying chart shows the state laws affecting the voting rights of people with mental disabilities.
Nonprofit VOTE website: Nonprofit VOTE is the leading source of nonpartisan resources to help nonprofits integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services. A central goal of Nonprofit VOTE’s activities is to help increase voter participation, especially among voters who are new to the process. The resources available on its website include “Engagement 101,” information on how to stay nonpartisan, how to vote in your state, and much more.
NAMI “Mental Health Care Gets My Vote” website: NAMI has compiled a wealth of election resources, including guides for consumers and advocates on engaging with candidates, information on the right to vote, an online tool to register to vote, and more.