Where to donate to help get out the vote? (aside from candidates/PACs)
August 8, 2016 5:26 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a situation where I'd (A) like to keep my personal info and donation amounts from being a matter of public record, and (B) identify good organizations I can keep donating to, even after this election cycle is over. I'm a US citizen. So, putting political candidates' campaigns and PACs aside, what other organizations will help with any of the following?

  • general voter education, voter registration, voter rights, and/or legal aid for disenfranchised voters
  • education and advocacy this election season for the Democratic party platform issues (especially rights for people of color, GLBT, women, immigrants).
In case it's not obvious by now, I want HRC to be president!

Recommendations for national or regional organizations are welcome, as well as any focusing on presidential swing states or areas with down-ticket elections. Again, as long as they're not PACs or candidate campaigns, since contributions to those aren't private, for good reason (and I know I can make an anonymous cash donation up to $50 for a federal election, which I totally plan to do). I happen to be in a blue state (California, LA County).

The ACLU is a popular suggestion here, but they supported the Citizens United decision, which I wasn't happy about. If you feel the same way I do about Citizens United, do you think their work important enough in this election cycle to overlook that stance? Go with the ACLU Foundation instead? (As noted on their website: "Gifts to the Foundation support our litigation, communications, and public education efforts, but by law, they cannot be used for legislative initiatives")

I'm probably beanplating this, so I'd appreciate whatever suggestions you have. Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Southern Poverty Law Center ticks a few of the boxes.
posted by Gotanda at 6:26 PM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Democracy NC promotes voter education and was instrumental in collecting data that got North Carolina's Monster Voter law overturned by the 4th Circuit.
posted by Schielisque at 6:39 PM on August 8, 2016


I believe DailyKos may be a good option for you. They're trying to turn the House and Senate blue, and are generally good about working for progressive causes.
posted by Tamanna at 6:39 PM on August 8, 2016


The League of Women Voters is big into get-out-the-vote and other worthy initiatives.
posted by lakeroon at 7:14 PM on August 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


You could support Kimberly Ellis for chair of the California Democratic Party. Elections for Party Chair, oddly, are not governed by the Fair Political Practices Commission. She is the ED of Emerge Califonia (another great organization and maybe of interest to you. Memail me if you want to know more - and ask how I know all this).
posted by rw at 7:29 PM on August 8, 2016


Another NC organization dedicated to getting voters registered/educated is You Can Vote! I volunteer with them so can say that they are definitely working to get ppl registered/updated, especially minority voters. We canvass at local shopping areas/events/other places, pass out information cards, check with ppl to make SURE their registrations are up to date, and register if need be. NC went blue in 2008! It could happen again.
posted by leesh at 7:45 PM on August 8, 2016


Headcount. HeadCount is a non-partisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy.

How does HeadCount work?
HeadCount is a giant team effort between musicians, concert promoters, and volunteers. We have street teams in most major cities, and affiliations with about 100 touring musicians including Dave Matthews Band, JAY-Z, Wilco, Phish, and The Black Keys, just to name a few. Whenever they play a concert in a major city, our street teams are there registering voters. All over the country, almost every night of the week, our volunteers are at live music events registering voters and rallying other music fans to take control of our democracy. We also work directly with many festivals, concert venues and partners to help extend our reach. At some events we have an even larger presence, running “Participation Row” social action villages or managing philanthropic programs that help music fans give back to their surrounding communities.

posted by AugustWest at 8:04 PM on August 8, 2016


Vote.org is run by a friend of mine, and doing a lot of voter registration and education work. I support them.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:31 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can donate up to $200 to a candidate or PAC without your name being publicly released. Just be aware that it's $200 cumulatively over the election cycle.
posted by fancypants at 6:32 AM on August 9, 2016


I know I can make an anonymous cash donation up to $50 for a federal election, which I totally plan to do

You'll find that many candidates and PACs with scruples will refuse to take a donation without any info. It's not worth the potential headache. Many won't have any process for taking cash. (I worked on a non-federal campaign once where someone walked into our office, dropped off some cash, and then bolted out the door without giving identifying information. Panic ensued and we were able to properly disgorge the money to a charitable cause.)

While only donors that give $200 or more in the aggregate within a cycle need to be reported publicly, most groups will meticulously track every donation to make sure you don't exceed that threshold with multiple contributions. Groups can voluntarily report donations under $200 if they are insane, as small donor lists are some of the most closely guarded commodities in politics, but I can't think of anyone that would want to do that.

Seconding vote.org for an excellent nonpartisan group in this field. They are a 501(c)(3). They have done amazing work with SEO to point wayward Google searches to good, high-quality information.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 7:20 AM on August 9, 2016


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