Whether it’s providing hand sanitizer, holding virtual town halls, or finding room for people to vote in person while social distancing, associations are helping to ensure an informed electorate and safe voting this fall.
Questions abound about the safety of the 2020 election—which promises to be unlike any other in modern history—and associations are hard at work on strategies to keep the public informed, polling places safe, and the election secure.
And it’s not just the usual suspects. Read on for ways organizations are stepping up in the final weeks before the November 3 election.
Hand Sanitizer in Every Polling Station
The associations: National Association of Secretaries of State, National Association of State Election Directors
The plan: Beer isn’t usually mentioned in the same breath as voting booths, but a collaboration among these groups and Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch is making it happen. In conjunction with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the partners will help to distribute 8 million ounces of hand sanitizer to polling locations across the country.
“With PPE in short supply, we appreciate Anheuser-Busch helping state and local election officials serve our voters safely,” said NASED President Lori Augino, director of elections for Washington’s secretary of state, in a news release. “Voters across the country can feel confident knowing their election officials are taking steps to provide for their safety if they choose to vote in person.”
Confidence in the Mail
The associations: National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, American Postal Workers Union, National Postal Mail Handlers Union
The plan: Recent headlines have raised serious questions about the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to handle what is likely to be a significant increase in mail-in ballots this year. USPS recently announced a task force with the leaders of four major postal unions to ensure a stronger collaboration with state and local election officials and a consistent response to the electoral surge. According to Axios, the USPS calls the effort a “statement of unity and commitment” to delivering election mail on time.
Objective Information on the Air
The associations: National Association of Broadcasters, League of Women Voters
The plan: Offering a counternarrative to the stream of misinformation that has colored election coverage in recent years, NAB has created an election toolkit to arm its members with useful and objective information to share with viewers and listeners before the election. Additionally, the group has teamed with the League of Women Voters on a public service initiative to help voters understand their rights and options..
Arenas As Polling Places
The association: National Basketball Players Association
The plan: It’s not every day that a sports league finds itself at the center of the election news cycle. But after Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, leading to protests within the NBA, the players association and its executive director, Michele Roberts, worked out a deal to turn some of the league’s arenas into in-person voting sites—a useful strategy, as the arenas are large enough to allow for social distancing.
“In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local election officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID-19,” said a statement from Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Alternatives to Town Halls
The association: AARP
The plan: Borrowing from the success of its virtual town halls about COVID-19, AARP will create virtual meetups to replace in-person town hall meetings about the election that it might have offered otherwise. The association is inviting candidates to take part in these meetings so that over-50 voters can ask them questions directly. The plan is one element of a broad campaign to inform and protect older voters.