September 2023 Newsletter: Victories, Fall Elections, & Video (oh my!)
Welcome to the Movement Voter Fund (MVF) September Newsletter!
(MVF is the nonpartisan affiliate of Movement Voter Project, and also manages a fund at Tides Foundation.)
With your support, MVF’s partners are organizing day in and day out to register, organize, and turn out young voters, voters of color, and voters in other communities at the forefront of creating a thriving, representative democracy.
This newsletter will give you a small but inspiring window into their work.
In This Newsletter:
- State Victories: Voting Rights & Funding Breakthroughs
- Getting Out the Vote: The Top Overlooked Elections of 2023
- Partner Spotlight: Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
- Pro-Tip for Donors: The 50-25-25 Strategy
With important elections this November — and the 2024 elections looming — many democracy-minded donors and funders are anxiously asking: “How do we get youth and voters of color to vote?”
The answer? Invest in the local grassroots organizations that register, educate, empower, organize, and mobilize these voters year-round, year after year.
Read on if you want to be inspired — and possibly spurred into action, too.
The Movement Voter Fund team
Voting Rights & Funding Breakthroughs
With your support, our local partners are winning years-in-the-making policy victories all over the country — and in the process, giving voters a tangible experience of their own political power, and a positive reason to stay involved.
Our blog post goes deeper into each victory: What happened, who was involved, and why it matters.
These stories are not making the headlines for the vast majority of people — and we think you’ll be filled with hope when you read them.
Here are the toplines:
Arizona: Budget Breakthroughs for Public Funding
In Arizona, MVF partners helped secure the approval of a 2024 budget that allocates $40 million for low-income college grants and $150 million for housing justice. In a significant win for climate protection, Arizona’s 2024 budget also includes funding for Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure and passenger rail.
Florida: Black Voters Win Fairer Representation
In Florida, spurred by a lawsuit by plaintiffs including MVF local partners, a judge just ordered the creation of new maps to restore fair representation to Black voters in North Florida.
Pennsylvania: Automatic Voter Registration
In Pennsylvania, officials launched Automatic Voter Registration, which will update voters’ registration when they get a new driver’s license. The program, championed by Pennsylvania Voice and other MVF partners, will lead to thousands more youth and voters of color registering and casting ballots in the months and years ahead.
Honorable Mention: Fair Representation in Alabama
In Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the drawing of a second majority-Black U.S. congressional district for the 2024 elections.
Although MVF’s involvement in Alabama has been minimal and MVF local partners were not directly involved as plaintiffs in this case, we want to share this story as an example of the broader movement for voting rights of which so many of our partners are an essential component.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE
The Top Overlooked Elections of 2023
While the media obsesses over the 2024 elections, MVF and our local partners also care about November 2023, when a host of consequential state and local elections will take place around the country.
MVF partners are organizing tirelessly to make sure youth, voters of color, and other marginalized voters have their voices heard on issues that matter directly in their lives. Here are just some of the overlooked elections this November:
- Arizona local elections – in Phoenix, Tucson and beyond.
- Georgia municipal elections (of which there are over a thousand!).
- Ohio’s ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution and permanently end a 22-week abortion ban.
- Pennsylvania local, municipal, and state elections, including an open Supreme Court seat, which is being called “the next big abortion battleground” of 2023.
- Virginia elections for all 140 state legislative seats, as well as local and municipal races, including prosecutor races.
For our local partners, these elections are some of the crucial building blocks of power which drive civic engagement, build the political agency of their constituencies, build momentum for the policy progress they are organizing for year-round, and prepare their teams for 2024.
Our blog post gives a deeper dive on these elections — AND includes an inspiring photo slideshow of our partners’ voter registration efforts. (There were just too many good photos to choose from!)
PARTNER VIDEO OF THE MONTH
Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
Each month we’ll share a video from a local partner to give you a more visceral and visual connection to our partners and their work – we hope you enjoy!
Founded in 1993, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) organizes LGBTQ+ people across all lines of race, class, and more, with over 12,000 members in 15 Southern states.
SONG “empowers everyday people to transform their community through building civic power, leadership development, and community collaboration.”
This quote perfectly sums up their — and MVF’s — approach to civic engagement:
“We are approaching politics as a transformational vehicle, and not a transactional vehicle. We don’t just canvass for votes, we’re not just phone banking for votes. We ‘deep canvass’. We call people. ‘How are you doing? What do you need? What’s going on in your neighborhood? How can we help?’”
PRO-TIP FOR DONORS
The 50-25-25 Strategy: “Compound Interest” for Democracy
Historically, most donors don’t invest in grassroots voter organizing efforts until a big election (like 2024) is right around the corner.
But the most savvy investors know that early contributions yield the most impact, for a simple reason: Compound interest.
In a nutshell: Giving earlier will make your money go a lot farther.
When we give early, grassroots groups are able to beat the “boom and bust” funding cycle. This allows them to staff up, scale up operations, level up infrastructure, and change policy by maintaining momentum in between elections.
The 50-25-25 Strategy is a simple way to remove the guesswork and take this from a “good idea” to an actionable plan:
- Set your overall 2023-2024 giving budget to support grassroots organizing. (Tip: Dig deep. Then dig deeper!)
- By Fall 2023 (i.e. now): Give 50% of your budget.
- By March 2024: Give the next 25%.
- By July 2024: Give the final 25%.
You can check out MVF’s various tax-deductible donation methods here.
Need help or want to strategize? Just reply to this email and we’ll be happy to serve as an advisor and sounding board. It’s what we’re here for!
WITH HOPE AND GRATITUDE
In It For the Long Haul
We consider MVF’s local partners the “essential workers” and “first responders” of our democracy: Day after day, local organizers fight injustice, heal the wounds of our communities, and patiently plant the seeds and till the soil of voter turnout.
And they could not do it without you. Without all of us.
As our partners at Ohio Organizing Collaborative put it: “Democracy is a 365-day endeavor.”
Thank you for your partnership in bringing about a thriving, representative democracy we can all be proud of.
– The “off-year obsessed” Movement Voter Fund team