Get Out the Vote! Action Step Timeline
FIVE to FOUR Weeks From Election Day
1) In response to the call of the Supreme Knight:
- Grand Knights and Faithful Navigators appoint a local “Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Get Out the Vote Program” coordinator for their councils and assemblies.
2) State Deputies:
- Appoint a “Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Get Out the Vote Program” State Coordinator to support Grand Knights and Faithful Navigators in implementing the “Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Get Out the Vote Program”.
3) Local “Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Get Out the Vote Program” coordinators:
- Contact state and local voting officials to correctly identify and confirm active polling locations where voting will take place on Election Day in the general area of the council and assembly.
- In areas where redistricting occurred this year, provide maps to inform people of the location of their new polling place and give them sample ballots with candidates and referendum issues listed.
- Organize a “Rides to the Polls” program
- Call for volunteers who have suitable means of transportation to drive people to the polls.
- Schedule volunteer drivers throughout Election Day to accommodate those in need of transportation to the polls throughout the Election Day.
- Arrange volunteer schedules so that volunteer drivers can pick up as many participants as they can comfortably accommodate during each trip.
- Designate a “dispatch” member and location to coordinate drivers and check on cancellations and late requests for rides.
- Reach out to parishes and other community organizations to help identify people in need of transportation on Election Day.
- Obtain permission from pastors of local parishes to post sign-up sheets for those in need of transportation to the polls on Election Day.
- Obtain permission to post sign-up sheets throughout the local community (stores, churches, meeting halls, senior centers, etc.) offering a ride to the polls and providing phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses to contact to arrange a time.
- Volunteer drivers make specific arrangements with participants as to where they will meet participants.
PROMOTE THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS NONPARTISAN NATIONAL GET OUT THE VOTE PROGRAM!
1) Add discussion of the Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Get Out the Vote Program as an agenda item at October council/assembly meetings and promote participation in the program among council/assembly members.
2) Conduct a public awareness campaign about the importance of every citizen exercising the right to vote.
3) Help Knights, family members, parishioners and others who are sick, disabled, in a nursing home, in the military, away at college, or otherwise unable to vote in person on Election Day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot.
4) Follow-up with mail-in voters to make sure they received their mail-in or absentee ballot and that they have completed the ballot and mailed it in a timely manner.
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS NONPARTISAN NATIONAL GET OUT THE VOTE PROGRAM MATERIALS!
1) Knights of Columbus “VOTE” posters
- Display posters throughout the local community in the weeks prior to local, state, and/or national elections to remind voters of their civic duty.
- Posters are available free of charge when ordered in reasonable quantities. Order “VOTE” posters and flyers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A PDF of the “VOTE” poster is available here - use for reproduction and distribution.
- A PDF of the “VOTE” flyer is available here - use for reproduction and distribution.
- Meet with the pastor to obtain permission to hang “VOTE” posters and official voting information flyers around the parish.
- Obtain permission to hang and otherwise distribute Knights of Columbus VOTE posters and official voting information flyers at soup kitchens, libraries, senior centers, community centers, convalescent homes, retirement centers, high schools, and other appropriate locations in the local community.
- Place the “VOTE” posters and official voting information flyers as ads in local community and diocesan newspapers.
2) Create, reproduce, and distribute voting information flyers that include the official:
- date of the election or, in early voting states, of the election period.
- sites of local polling places, including dates and locations of early voting places.
- ballot information on what offices, referenda, initiatives, and/or propositions are being voting on.
- information regarding voter qualifications (e.g., Will voters need I.D. to vote?)
- information regarding voter registration.
3) Obtain the pastor’s permission and approval to promote the Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Get Out The Vote Program through:
- Nonpartisan bulletin inserts, and
- Nonpartisan pulpit talks that advise parishioners in need of assistance or transportation to get to the polls on Election Day to sign up with a representative from the Knights of Columbus.
1) Ask state and local voting officials to:
- come and speak at public talks sponsored by the Knights of Columbus to educate the public on how to correctly use voting machines and to read the ballot, and
- display sample ballots and instructions on how to vote in the parish and local community, including in the council’s meeting place, the parish hall bulletin board, and any other spots accessible to the public.
2) If a referendum is being held in your state affecting marriage or life, or some other important issue your state Catholic conference has taken a position on:
- support your state Catholic conference’s position on the issue by sponsoring forums or other educational events.
- volunteer to distribute literature, make phone calls, and support other referendum efforts.
- volunteer to be a poll watcher to record and report who has voted to your state Catholic conference or other supportive advocacy group headquarters
- volunteer to make phone calls, emails or knock on doors to remind those who have not yet voted to do so.
TWO Weeks From Election Day
1) MAKE APPROVED PULPIT ANNOUNCEMENTS AND ISSUE APPROVED BULLETIN INSERTS!
- Read pulpit announcements at all Masses for two weeks prior to Election Day, advising parishioners who are in need of assistance or transportation to Election Day polls to sign up with a representative from the Knights of Columbus or to take a bulletin for additional information.
- Bulletin inserts in available parish bulletins at all Masses for two weeks prior to Election Day, advising parishioners in need of assistance or transportation to Election Day polls to sign up with a representative from the Knights.
2) HELP A BROTHER KNIGHT TO VOTE!
- Ask a brother Knight to come with you when you go to cast your ballot.
- Offer to pick up your voting companion and take him to the polls on the day of the election.
- Set a specific time to go, and encourage your brother Knight to bring along other eligible voters.
- Encourage first-time voters, elderly members, and Knights with busy schedules who might not otherwise vote to come with you when you cast your ballot.
3) ASK MARRIED COUPLES TO VOLUNTEER TO WATCH THE KIDS WHILE PARENTS VOTE!
- Arrange a babysitting service on the day of the election to allow members with young children to leave their children in a safe location, for a short time, with two or three married couples while they go and vote.
- Ask for two or three married couples to volunteer to babysit a small number of young children for a short time to allow the parents to vote.
- The service could be provided throughout the day or in the evening only, depending on the needs and availability of volunteer married couples
- Keep toys and games handy for the event.
- Consider taking the children to a nearby playground area, but be sure to advise parents that you will be doing this and ensure that there are enough volunteer married couples to properly watch the children.
- Provide snacks for the kids (be sure to first check with parents about any food allergies); bringing milk/juice and a snacks could be a parent’s “fee” for the babysitting service.
- Certified or otherwise qualified older children and/or child care professionals may also want to volunteer.
4) USE MEDIA TO GET OUT THE VOTE
- Put a NONPARTISAN “Vote!” reminder on your K of C council or assembly website.
- Post on Facebook to remind all of your “friends” to vote.
- Send a NONPARTISAN “tweet,” or have the Grand Knight or a local celebrity send one, to your following on Twitter.
- Make a NONPARTISAN video Get Out the Vote public service announcement, post it on You-Tube, and send an e-mail to everyone in your “contacts” list with a link to the video.
- Knock on doors or man a Knights of Columbus phone bank to reach registered voters who have not yet voted.
- In the United States in the 1800’s, voting was a social event, with voting parties held on Election Day at or near the polls. Hold your own Election Day party to make sure everyone votes!
In States With Early Voting
Today, many states and the District of Columbia allow “early voting” or “no excuse” absentee ballots or both. This year, voters in 30 states started casting their ballots before September even ended. Thus, about 35% of voters are expected to vote before November 4, 2014. This is still called Election Day, but for many it is simply the last day of an “Election Week” or “Election Month” or an even longer election period.
While about 65% of U.S. voters will still vote at a polling place on November 4, millions of others will vote before then, either at a polling place that's opened early, or by mail. In Oregon, all voting will be by mail, as is most voting in the state of Washington. (In Washington, the only polling places on Election Day are at county election offices.)
If your state has early voting, to assure that voters are aware of all of their early voting options, you can do the following:
- Publicize when and where early in-person voting will be held.
- Publicize and provide Rides to the Polls throughout the early voting period for Knights in your council, their family members, parishioners and other voters who do not have transportation or who need assistance in getting to the polls.
- Contact Knights, parishioners and other registered voters by phone or e-mail to remind them that:
- the period for early voting in-person has begun and that rides to the polls are available
- the period for early voting by mail has begun and to complete their ballot and mail it in
- Create and distribute “Did You Vote Yet?” stickers or buttons to wear on the days and in the weeks when polling is open, similar to “I Voted” stickers given out at the polls on Election Day,
- If early predictions forecast bad weather for Tuesday, November 4, use phone calls or e-mail to encourage Election Day voters to use the early voting option to vote sooner.