Civic Engagement Volunteer & Training Opportunities
August 4 @ 8:00 am - October 1 @ 5:00 pm
2020 ELECTION UPDATE
Civic Engagement Volunteer & Training Opportunities + Good News for Pennsylvanians Who Plan to Vote by Mail
From the Beth David Social Justice Sh’ma Group
SAVE THE DATE: Beth David Members Are Invited to a Virtual RAC Civic Engagement Event on Aug. 10
Beth David is having a virtual civic engagement event in support of RAC’s Every Voice, Every Vote campaign on Monday, August 10. We’ll be gathering on Zoom to write postcards to low-propensity voters, encouraging them to vote. We’ll supply the postcards, training, and contact info; you supply the energy, penmanship, and schmoozing. Two session will be held: one at 10:00 AM, the other at 7:00 PM. More details will be sent out later this week.
Upcoming RAC/RAC-PA Volunteer Training Sessions
RAC and RAC-PA regularly offer excellent training programs for civic engagement campaign volunteers. All of the sessions are conducted via Zoom. Programs hosted by the organizers of RAC’s national campaign are offered virtually every Wednesday from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Beth David volunteers are welcome to attend both the RAC and the RAC-PA programs.
Here is the training schedule for the next two weeks. Click the date to sign up for the sessions you wish to attend.
- Wednesday, August 5, 8:00 – 9:00 PM (EDT): The national RAC campaign is presenting The Power of Nonpartisan Work & Laying the Foundation for Post-Election Work. The RAC and RAC-PA campaigns are both nonpartisan. What does this mean in terms of our impact?
- Tuesday, August 11, 8:30 – 9:30 PM (EDT): PAC-PA Voter Outreach Training with OnePA. Reaching out to low-propensity voters is a major component of RAC-PA’s strategy for the 2020 election. Join our partners from OnePA to learn how to do sustained outreach to politically invisible voters outside the Jewish community.
- Wednesday, August 12, 8:00 – 9:00 PM (EDT): The national RAC campaign is presenting 100% Voting Congregations, which will focus on the tactics volunteers can use to help their congregation reach our “100% Voting” goal.
- Thursday, August 13, 8:00 – 9:00 PM (EDT): RAC-PA Advocacy Training with PA Voice. Ensuring that all voters have fair, safe, and secure access to the ballot box – in person or by mail – is one of the top goals of both civic engagement campaigns. This session with our partners at PA Voice will cover how to get involved in our county advocacy efforts to address structural barriers to voting in PA.
RAC records all of the national training sessions it presents. Click here for a list of the topics for past sessions, and then click here to access the recordings (please note the recordings don’t appear in chronological order).
And just to remind you, if you haven’t signed up to volunteer for the RAC-PA campaign, please visit rac.org/PAcommit and fill out the short commitment form. The campaign managers at Beth David will be notified once you sign up. The Beth David Social Justice Sh’ma Group is mapping out an action plan to guide our congregation’s participation in the RAC and RAC-PA campaigns. We’re hoping to distribute it in mid-August; please be on the lookout for it. In the meantime, If anyone has any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email Helene Bludman or Bill Madway.
Some Good News About Voting By Mail in PA
Last week we announced that the state is now accepting applications to vote by mail this fall – both by mail-in ballots and absentee ballots. Click here to review the guidance we provided last week, and if you want to get right to it and apply online for a mail-in or absentee ballot, click this link.
If you intend to vote by mail, we urge you to apply as soon as possible. Given the surge in the number of people expected to vote by mail this fall and the possibility of slower mail delivery due to budgetary issues, do not put off applying. And don’t be misled by the fact that you have until 5:00 PM on October 27, which is one before the election, to submit an application. Your odds of receiving your ballot in time to use it if you apply that late aren’t good.
Now for some good news about the mail-in voting process in Pennsylvania. The state has agreed to pay the cost of postage when voters return their mail-in and absentee ballots this fall. The ballots will include postage-paid return envelopes. (Click here for a news article about this development that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on July 31.)
This is a significant development as research has shown that providing postage increases the return rate for forms, surveys, and direct mail offers. More importantly, some have argued that having voters pay for postage is akin to a poll tax. (Click here for an article that appeared in Bloomberg Law on July 15 about this topic.)
As shown in the graphic below from the Bloomberg Law article, prior to the addition of PA, 18 states covered the cost of mailing back completed mail-in ballots. Good to see another obstacle to voting in PA has been removed.