Election Day is tomorrow and the impact that the results will have on a local, state, and national level is hard to overstate, both for our personal lives, and in our work as members of the Code for America Network. We know that many Brigade leaders have questions about how we discuss this election and its results, and also how to do so in a way that does not endanger the nonprofit status of Code for America or any other sponsoring organizations.
We’ve developed and organized some resources (linked at the bottom of this page) for you as you decide what conversations you want to have in your Brigades. These resources are aimed to help support you in leading your brigade through what may be a challenging week(s) ahead, and also to help guide you in what you can (and can’t) do related to the election as part of a nonprofit organization.
As the leader of a Brigade there are many different things you can do to support your community this week, and in the coming weeks. You can:
- Take space. It is okay to take a break or give people the space they need to process their feelings and ideas while we’re going through such a monumental time. It’s okay to cancel a meetup, or ask someone else to lead it, if you need to. You can also direct people to self care or mental health resources that may be helpful to them.
- Create space. If it makes sense for your Brigade (and for yourself as a leader), consider dedicating a breakout at a hack night, or a standalone meeting, to discussing/processing the election as a community.
- Do the work. For many of us, civic tech volunteerism is a way to do something about it when we see government failing to work as it should, or letting down the people who need it most. It’s easy to feel powerless in the wake of a national election–take that power back by working with local governments, nonprofits, and communities to build the tools governments need, and hold them accountable to using them responsibly, equitably, and effectively.
Additionally, we have some general recommendations:
- Non-partisan does not mean neutral or non-political. Non-partisan refers to not supporting political parties or candidates for office. It does not, however, restrict your ability to support policies, legislation, or reforms to the political system.
- When discussing the election, keep things project focused. You can discuss how your projects and work are affected by current conditions.
- Remember: The election process is a government service that must work for people who need it the most. At Code for America we believe in a human-centered, intuitive, and accessible voting process. We should hold our government accountable to this, and we believe that an appropriate use of well-designed technology can help deliver this service reliably. The gold standard here is the work of the Center for Civic Design; consider referencing their work as the best case scenario of what a human-centered election looks like.
Guidance for Nonprofits during election
Bolder Advocacy- Keeping Nonpartisan During Election Season
Bolder Advocacy- Election Checklist for 501c3 Public Charities
Non Profit Vote- Non Profits Voting and Elections General Rules
What a human centered election could look like
Center for Civic Design - What to do about results