Big Sky ConnectionAs the midterm election nears, voter registration-drives are ramping up. Nonprofit organizations also are helping the communities they serve get registered. Comments from Adrian Cook, student board chair, Montana Public Interest Research Group (MontPIRG); and Danny Navarro, partner engagement director, Nonprofit Vote.

 

Click on the image above for the audio. - The midterm general election this year is on Nov. 8. (mybaitshop/Adobe Stock)

Eric Tegethoff

September 16, 2022

Nonprofit organizations are ramping up efforts to get out the vote for the election in November.

The student-led Montana Public Interest Research Group, or MontPIRG, is providing voter-registration kits to nonprofits. The kits consist in part of forms and prepaid envelopes that the organization can use to help the communities they serve get registered.

Adrian Cook, student board chair with MontPIRG, said people are eager to participate in elections.

"When we're on campus, we get a lot of people who say, 'Thank you for what you're doing, appreciate your being here,'" said Cook. "It doesn't take much because a lot of the time people are eager for an opportunity to participate in our elections. They just need to know how and where."

He noted that there have been recent changes to election laws in Montana.

In 2021, for instance, the Montana Legislature ended same-day voter registration. Voters now must register by the Friday before election day.

Next Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day.

Danny Navarro is the partner engagement director with the organization Nonprofit Vote, which assists nonprofits with voter-engagement projects. He said these organizations are good vehicles for voter-registration drives.

"People across the country," said Navarro, "regardless of their politics or regardless of demographics, find nonprofits to be one of the most trusted sources in their community."

With their deep connection to communities, Navarro said the role nonprofits can play has become even more critical in the era of pervasive misinformation online.

"We need that personal touch, right?" said Navarro. "We need those faces in the community to really reinforce that the elections are secure, that they're safe, and that it's a fundamental right - that there's nothing wrong with encouraging people to go and vote and make their voices heard."

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.