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Considerations About Election Day & Possible Post-election Turmoil

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What should nonprofits consider today and in the days to come?rn rn rn

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As we begin election day, we know that many in our communities are filled with emotions. Across the political spectrum, people have strong feelings about this election and strong opinions about what they want to see happen. For some, there is a sense of impending triumph. For others, there is a feeling of foreboding that is overwhelming our already-taxed nerves from a year like no other in living memory. With those emotions come anxiety and trepidation for the results of this crucial moment in our history.

As community leaders and trusted messengers, nonprofits are important voices to promote civic participation and share good, reliable information about voting in their communities.

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What should nonprofits consider as we begin election day and into the days and weeks to follow?

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Keep in mind that the election will likely not be decided on election night.

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  • The election outcome could be delayed or held up for weeks. If so, the post-election period may be troubling at a time when our staff, volunteers, and community members are already experiencing many kinds of stress.
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  • There are concerns about election-night and post-election violence (as there was during the last presidential election). In particular, we know that immigrants, Black people, and other people of color, people in certain religious groups, and women are more likely to be fearful.
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  • Nonprofits believe in a strong democracy. We nonprofits owe our existence to democracy, and democratic ideals are behind much of our work.
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So, as a nonprofit leader, what can you do?rn rn

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  • Acknowledge the anxiety and fears within your organization and in your communities. Recognize that the election is likely to have a significant impact on your communities and on your organization – this isn’t just individual stress. Sharing the feelings you have with others in the community may help to lessen the load.
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  • Promote voting today.
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  • Know that nonprofits can publicize or convene nonpartisanrn events that provide an opportunity for communities to express their thoughts and feelings, but that nonprofits cannot publicizern or convene events that focus or even hint at preference for a particular candidate or political party. If the event is organized by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it should be nonpartisan, though wern recommend reviewing information about the event or talking with event organizers to ensure their intent is that it is a nonpartisan event.
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  • Remember that in times of crisis, clear and consistent messaging is important. Share your messaging with all staff to ensure they know what is expected of them, and what the organization’s plans are.
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  • Make plans with scenarios in mind by asking yourself the following questions.
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  • Consider how your organization can be more civically engaged in the future. What are your plans to eliminate barriers to voting and support your communities as they vote in the future?
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rn Resources to help navigate the days and weeks ahead:

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Elections are a vital component of democracy and our way of life. Regardless of the final results of this next election, we as a people are resilient and strong. Elections are one facet of that strength, but not the only one. As nonprofit leaders, we exercise our democracy everyday through dialogue, working toward solutions, and building a better Arizona where all are cared for, respected and heard. At the Alliance, this is core to our mission of uniting, strengthening and advancing the collective voice, leadership, and capacity of nonprofits to enrich the lives of all Arizonans.

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In Service, 

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Kristen Merrifield, CEO

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Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

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