The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many communities across the country–economically, emotionally, and electorally. As the most trusted level of government, city leaders have a unique ability to understand the challenges their residents face to safely and fairly participate in this year’s elections, including but not limited to the presidential election in November.

In 2020 city leaders will face unprecedented challenges in assuring safe and fair elections.  Among them: 

  • Assuring equity in voting & elections—during this pandemic and beyond
  • Converting to vote by mail and managing absentee voting
  • Ensuring voter and poll-worker safety at live polling locations
  • Protecting vulnerable voting and volunteer populations and managing the count
  • Increasing voter engagement and registration despite social distancing
  • Working with county, state and community partners in new ways

Cities Vote will work to ensure that everyone counts in every election. We recognize that COVID-19’s impact will change our elections this year and many years to come. Many cities are facing challenges on how to continue voter engagement while also navigating the realities of the pandemic as they pivot to manage remote voting, shifting primary dates, election safety, vulnerable workforce, and more. This initiative is designed for city leaders and others who are on the front lines and fully committed to ensuring fair and safe elections. 

COMMIT TO CITIES VOTE

 

You can join this dedicated group of leaders by signing up for the Cities Vote Peer-To-Peer Network by clicking the “Commit To Cities Vote” button above.  We will continue to work to help municipal leaders prepare for an exponentially challenging election year where navigating voter registration, turnout and running polls will be anything but business-as-usual. Please reach out to us any time at citiesvote@nlc.org!

Cities Vote Action Plan

Use these Voter Action Plan templates to build your city’s unique plan to take action.

Cities Vote 101: Interventions

This “get started” guide for your municipality’s Voter Engagement preparedness efforts will be updated soon to reflect the current state of elections in 2020. Meanwhile, you can still find inspiration here.

COVID 19 Resource Library  
The Cities Vote team has gathered resources we hope will benefit you as you think through voter engagement, turnout, and protection strategies in the face of COVID-19. Below you will find resources from various partners and organizations whose work centers around voting. 


To learn more about Cities Vote, contact us at citiesvote@nlc.org or click here to join with local leaders building plans to help fortify our democracy.

What We Do

We will both support elected officials in committing to and executing high quality voter engagement plans and facilitate learning between municipal leaders, steering cities towards strengthened local democracy. Examples of interventions for city leaders include:

  • making voting more accessible (reducing barriers to voter registration, strengthening partnerships with state and local partners)
  • making voting more convenient (improving the voting experience, working with local elections officials to reduce friction of participation)
  • making voting more meaningful (reducing voter apathy, elevating schools, community groups and local influencers who can deliver education about meaningful democracy)

Who You Are

  • City leaders who appreciate the relationship between an engaged citizenry and a thriving local economy and culture.
  • City leaders who understand that their residents are not only constituents, but neighbors.
  • City leaders who serve as role models to other city leaders, and who strengthen the platform of municipal leadership

Cities Vote is a network of municipal leaders and their staff who are interested in taking action to grow voter engagement—they are aware that there is a deepening demand from residents to feel included and empowered in the democratic process at every level, including the most local. They are also aware that both community-based organizations and civic engagement leaders have been laying the groundwork to grow voter turnout for years. As the most trusted level of government, city leaders are ready to lead as powerful conveners that can increase participation rates nationwide—starting locally.

COMMIT TO CITIES VOTE

 

To learn more about Cities Vote, contact us at citiesvote@nlc.org.

Voting Engagement Resources for Local Governments

When We All Vote

When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.

#VoteTogether

#VoteTogether is a national campaign to increase voter participation by making voting fun and celebratory. At thousands of nonpartisan events hosted at and near polling places across the country, #VoteTogether partners bring together families, friends and neighbors in a celebration of civic engagement and the act of voting.

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge

The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national awards program. By recognizing colleges and universities for their commitment to increasing student voting rates, the Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, make democratic participation a core value on their campus, and cultivate generations of engaged citizens who are essential to a healthy democracy.

apolitical

apolitical equips public servants to do their jobs through free access to courses, events, connections and news. Apolitical is codesigned and funded by governments and used by public servants in 160+ countries.

Campus Vote Project

Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. Campus vote project works with over 2 million students across 150 universities in 30 states.

Common Cause

Our Constitution demands that every citizen have an equal voice and vote in determining the future for our families, communities, and country. Common Cause works to ensure that every eligible citizen has the freedom to vote and that their votes are accurately counted.

Early Vote Project (Project Vote)

Filer Voter Project

Voter registration at tax time has the potential to not only increase the voter pool, but to make the voting population more closely mirror the citizenry as a whole. Tax time may be an especially effective time to encourage lower-income citizens to register.

Get In the Game

Get In the Game is a nonpartisan voter development initiative. This project is designed to encourage all sports fans to register to vote and participate in the electoral process.

iCivics

Founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor iCivics works to ensure every student in America receives a quality and engaging civic education and graduates from high school well prepared and enthusiastic for citizenship.

League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities. LCV, as part of the Conservation Voter Movement along with state LCV partners, advocates for sound environmental laws and policies, holds elected officials accountable for their votes and actions, and elects pro-environment candidates who will champion our priority issues

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) works to register voters, provide voters with election information through voter guides as well as candidate forums and debates.

National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday celebrating our democracy. It was first observed in 2012 and has been growing in popularity every year since. Held on the fourth Tuesday of September, National Voter Registration Day will take place on September 22, 2020.

Non Profit Vote

Nonprofit VOTE partners with America’s nonprofits to help the people they serve participate and vote.

Souls to the Polls/The Equity Alliance/Interdemoninational Ministers Fellowship

Faith-based community organizing has been a tried-and-true strategy to reach black voters since the Civil Rights Movement. In an effort to get Souls to the Polls, The Equity Alliance partners with the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF) to conduct voter registration drives at African-American churches in Nashville.

Rejoice the Vote

The Vote’s three-pronged approach is geared to honor the past, celebrate the present, and challenge the future. It is aimed at changing the culture of voting from a chore to a joyful celebration.

VotER

Working with Hospitals across the country to provide convenient nonpartisan voter registration platforms for patients while they wait.

Resource Library for COVID-19 Voter Engagement

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted many communities across the country–economically, emotionally, and electorally. As the most trusted level of government, city leaders have a unique ability to understand the challenges their residents face to safely and fairly participate in this year’s elections, including but not limited to the presidential election in November.

The Cities Vote team has gathered resources we hope will benefit you as you think through voter engagement, turnout, and protection strategies in the face of COVID-19. Below you will find resources from various partners and organizations whose work centers around voting. 

Vote-By-Mail

Many states are quickly pivoting to vote by mail or utilizing no excuse/universal absentee voting options in light of COVID-19. These efforts to expand voting from home may cause some challenging logistics at scale. Here are a few resources specific to Vote by Mail, including USPS mail kits and resources for digital signatures as well as some creative solutions to mail drops and other create ways to leverage voting by mail for fair and safe elections. 

In-Person Voting

During the age of Social Distancing, many communities are concerned about the health risks and hazards of voting in person. As you think about the health and safety of your community members in upcoming elections, use these resources as a guide for your planning and other strategic efforts in the weeks ahead.  

Board of Elections

We know city and municipal leaders—often working in concert with county and state leaders and their Board of Elections—often find themselves serving as frontline communicators and implementers of elections. Local Elections officials also have the unique responsibility of directly managing poll workers, ensuring voter safety, and administering ballots. These resources will provide you with ways to continue keeping your elections safe during COVID-19.

Voter Registration and Engagement

Voter registration has always been a critical piece of ensuring that elections remain safe, fair, and equitable access to the ballot box. COVID-19 makes these efforts even more important than ever before. These resources will provide you with ways to continue civic engagement and creating pathways to improving voter registration, voter turnout and voter education in your communities.

State by State/ COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness

Many states have existing plans governing elections in times of emergency and specifically for COVID-19. Organizations such as National Association of Secretaries of States, Election Assistance Commission, the National Conference of State Legislatures and Rock the Vote have compiled resources together about emergency management of elections, legislative actions and more, on state by state level.

Election Security

Ensuring fair and safe elections this year will take increased vigilance to keep our elections safe from outside interference -whether that is online, by mail or in person. COVID-19 has amplified the existing need for attention to these issues, the resources below can help support you in building your election security infrastructure.