Get Out the Vote 2012: Sample Letters and Articles
This post is part our weekly Get Out the Vote 2012 series, focusing on ways to promote civic engagement in your Jewish community and highlighting portions from the RAC’s Get Out the Vote 2012 guide. Check back every Monday for new updates. It’s important to get the word out about voting in the upcoming election every way you can. The best way to reach a broad audience, including college students and other groups that historically have lowturnout at the polls, is to make your effort visible in your community through mailings, fliers, emails, neighborhood newsletters, local newspapers and synagogue bulletin updates. Feel free to use and adapt the below sample articles and letters for your community.
Sample Bulletin or Newsletter Article:
Register to Vote Today! Are you registered to vote? Are members of your family registered? They should be! American Jews have long been devoted participants in the electoral process. As a community, we have influenced elections and the passage of important legislation favoring domestic and foreign policy agenda, including support for Israel. Yet this influence may be eroded if the present declining trend in Jews heading to the polls continues. We can restore our voting clout at the ballot box. Here are a few tips to Get Out the Votein 2012:
- Be sure that all eligible members of our families are registered to vote.
- Remind students attending college that they should be registered either in their primary residence or at home and vote by absentee ballot if necessary.
- Inform senior citizens who relocate of how, when, and where to register in their new locations.
- Advise “snowbirds” and others who may be away from their legal residences to register early to receive and vote via absentee ballots.
- Urge everyone you know (friends, relatives, coworkers) to register.
- Be informed about candidates and election issues.
See you at the polls on November 6!
Sample Postcard Voting Reminder:
Dear Friend, Federal elections will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2012. At stake are numerous local, state, and federal elected officials and issues of concern to American Jews. Please be sure to cast your ballot. [IF YOUR SYNAGOGUE OR ORGANIZATION IS PROVIDING TRANSPORTATION, ADD: If you need a ride to the polls, please contact our office at (PHONE NUMBER) to make arrangements.] The polls will be open from [HOURS]. As Jews and Americans, it is our civic responsibility to vote. Every vote can make a difference. Enclosed is a special blessing you can recite while casting your ballot. Thank you, [Your name]
Sample Letter to Announce Voter Registration Campaign:
Dear Member, One of the most important rights that we have as Americans is the right to vote. It is a right that we must not take for granted; a right that is doubly precious because it has been ours so rarely in Jewish history. For more than eighty years, American Jews voted in overwhelming numbers. Historically, around 90% of all eligible Jews voted in federal and local elections, an action that magnified our role in American political life. We are able to assert our values, protect our interests, and defend the rights of all Americans because of our participation in the democratic process. Ensuring our voice remains heard in the political arena is essential. Our [CONGREGATION/ORGANIZATION] is part of a nationwide voter registration drive. Our main goal is to provide you with information on where, when and how to register and vote. [TOWARD THAT END WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A SPECIAL VOTER REGISTRATION COMMITTEE, CHAIRED BY XXX.] We are confident that members are politically aware and will act on the information provided. We are available to be of assistance to you in whatever way we can. We are enclosing four voter registration forms for your household. You can complete the forms at home and mail them to the registrar of voters in the pre-addressed envelope provided [OR GIVE ADDRESS IF NECESSARY]. If you are not registered, or in doubt as to whether you are registered, please take the time today to register. Additional forms are available in our office, and we will be pleased to mail extra forms to you. You must register by [DATE varies by state] to be eligible to vote in the upcoming election. If you have moved or changed your name since you last voted or if you have not voted in the last four years, your name has been removed from the voter rolls. If you aren’t sure whether or not you are registered, please contact [LIST THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE THEY CAN CALL TO DETERMINE THEIR STATUS] to determine your status. It is especially important to encourage young voters, especially your children age 18 and above, to register and vote. We are planning to send a letter about voter registration to members’ children who are away at college or graduate school. Please supply the office with the addresses of your college age children, if we do not already have them. We hope that you will follow up by phone on Election Day to encourage them to go to the polls or complete and mail their absentee ballots. Finally, if you plan to be out of town on Election Day, you may request an absentee ballot in advance from your local Board of Elections [ADDRESS AND HOURS]. The deadline for filing absentee ballot applications is [DEADLINE DATE]. Again, the registration deadline is [DATE], so please register as soon as you can. Participating in the democratic process is a privilege and responsibility we all share. Please be sure to register and vote on Election Day: Tuesday, November 6. Thank you for your help in getting out the vote! L’Shalom, [Your names]
Sample Letter to College Students:
Dear [Name of Student], I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to urge you to register and vote in the upcoming election and to provide you with some information on voting procedures and options. The right to vote is a new one for you, and it is doubly precious to us as American Jews since in other lands we have been disenfranchised and disempowered. For a variety of reasons, including a high level of education, civic pride, belief in democracy, and gratitude for the right of full participation in American national life, American Jews have exercised their right to vote enthusiastically and in percentages far greater than the national average. Voting makes a difference. Politicians and the social policies they create decide life-and-death issues: Who is homeless and who has shelter? Who guards our planet and subjects it to risk? Who makes war and who makes peace and who fights those wars? Our elected officials shape policy that affects us and should affect our Jewish sensibility. Your vote shapes and affects government. Registering to vote is easy! Enclosed you will find a mail-in voter registration form. All you need to do is fill it out and mail it to the Board of Elections in the state in which you wish to vote. You may use your college or home address, but please note that registration rules vary from state to state. If you are registered to vote using your home address, but will be out of town on Election Day, you will need to apply for an absentee ballot (enclosed). Please fill it out and mail it today! The deadline for filing the application is [DATE]. The ballot you will receive in the mail is due on [DATE]. If you want to register and vote using your college address, we can help you find out where and how to register in that state. Participating in the democratic process is a privilege and a responsibility we all share. Enclosed is a special blessing you can recite while casting your ballot. See you at the polls on Election Day on Tuesday, November 6! With all good wishes, [Your name] Rabbi/President/Leader To learn more about how your congregation or organization can promote civic engagement this election season, download your copy of the RAC’s Get Out the Vote 2012 guide now at www.rac.org/vote.