This year has been unprecedented in many ways. The November election results at local and national levels will have grand implications for all – for co-ops and for our communities. Challenging times call on us to use our gifts for the wellbeing of our communities. One of the gifts of cooperation is our ability to practice democracy. As cooperators, we know that democracy is much more than voting. It is a field that needs tending to, before, during, and after harvest. It must be maintained and co-created.
Co-ops shape democracy every day in the workplace. Through collective decision-making, elections, education, training, and community building, we have learned to shape governance in our livelihoods. Now it’s time to help shape a more inclusive, equitable and diverse democracy in our communities, in our cities, in our states, and in the country.
Why should co-ops participate in voter registration and turnout for the November elections locally and nationally?
- About 30% of eligible voters are not registered to vote, but, according to polling data, they would register if asked or reminded.
- Due to the COVID pandemic, voter registration rates have dropped, there is a shortage of polling workers and polling places, and mail in voting is under-resourced.
- While the second cooperative principle calls for democratic control, the seventh democratic principle calls for community concern. This is a time that, in the words of Maurice Mitchell at The Worker Co-op Conference, calls for “all hands.” It calls for all votes.
Throughout the month, we’re going to be featuring interviews with cooperators and movement leaders on lessons on democratic practices from the cooperative movement.
Co-ops play a central role in the community and, especially during a pandemic, are uniquely positioned to: help people register to vote, act as a conduit of critical voting information, and help people make a plan to vote.
The USFWC and DAWI have partnered with NRECA, Vote.coop, NCBA CLUSA, and National Voter Registration Day to help cooperators and those we serve get registered to vote and get out the vote in November.
After Registering to Vote, get #VoteReady with this toolkit, including information on:
- Healthy voting amid COVID
- What’s on the ballot in your community
- Voting by mail
- Earliest possible dates & deadlines
- Requesting your mail-in ballot
- Know if you can track your ballot once you’ve sent it in
- Voting in person
- Polling locations
- Proper ID’s
- Help other vote
- Serve as a poll worker
- Sign up to be an election protection volunteer
- Save and share the number for the election protection hotline in several languages
Want to help get your whole community ready to vote?
- Help recruit poll workers via Power the Polls and the National Poll Worker Recruitment Day of Action (September 1)
- Become a National Voter Education Week partner (October 5-9):
- Become a Vote Early Day partner (October 24):
- For nonprofit organizations: participate in Nonprofit VOTE’s digital activation calendar “Nonprofits Countdown to the Elections”