Updated Mar 29, 2019

Spread The Vote

spreadthevote.org

Cristelle Brown

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Spread The Vote aims to close the gap between registered voters and voter turnout by obtaining IDs, educating, and empowering voters.

The obstacles to obtaining an ID are numerous. First, the applicant must gather documentation – things like birth certificates, naturalization papers, social security cards, official court documents for anyone who has changed their name and/or gender marker, and proof of residence. Original copies are usually required, which can cost money to obtain. The poor face the challenge of paying for al...
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The obstacles to obtaining an ID are numerous. First, the applicant must gather documentation – things like birth certificates, naturalization papers, social security cards, official court documents for anyone who has changed their name and/or gender marker, and proof of residence. Original copies are usually required, which can cost money to obtain. The poor face the challenge of paying for all this paperwork. The homeless lack the residential address required, and often need a social service organization that is willing to accept mail for them. Elderly voters who were born in rural areas may have never been issued birth certificates, and must make their way through an endless bureaucratic maze in order to prove their identities. Students and young voters may find their dormitory addresses are not accepted. Native Americans who live on reservations may find that PO Boxes are not accepted either. Trans and gender-nonconforming applicants face rampant discrimination if their gender presentation does not match the gender marker on their documents. This is where we step in. If they're missing paperwork, we’ll pay for it and do all the bureaucratic back-and-forth for them. If them don’t have a car or can’t afford gas right now, we’ll drive them to the DMV. If an application is confusing, our experts are here to help. Our process ensures that each client walks away with the identification they need to not only cast their ballot on Election Day, but to live a full life.
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Stage 5: Scaling

In 2018, Spread The Vote was operating in five (5) states. Since then, we have expanded to nine (9) states. We expect to have full operations in 12-15 states by the end of 2019.
Registered in United Statesin United States

Focus Areas:

Elections, Citizen Participation and Political Process

Elections, Citizen Participation and Political ProcessSEE LESS

Implemented In:

United States

United StatesSEE LESS

1
Country Implemented In
4,060
Customers
22
Employees
$1,800,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

An estimated 102,731,399 eligible voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 Presidential Election. As in most cases, there are many reasons as to why individuals may not participate in the voting process. However, studies estimate that over 21 million eligible voters lack a government-issued ID, meaning that many of these eligible voters likely did not participate because they did not have the ID they needed to do so, especially those living in states with strict voter ID laws.

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Solution

Studies estimate that over 21 million eligible voters lack a government-issued ID. This is where Spread The Vote steps in. We want to increase voter participation in America because our democracy depends on it. We pay all fees and work with clients in 9 states to help them through every phase of the process required to obtain a government-issued ID.

Target Beneficiaries

The communities served by our programming are located in states with strict voter ID laws. We intend to continue expanding in 2019 and would like to have an even stronger presence across the country before 2020. The demographic(s) of voters and constituents served includes people of color, people with low or no income, the elderly and young people under the age of 25. Additionally, we work with the homeless, returning citizens, and single parents.

Mission and Vision

Our mission at Spread The Vote is to help every single American, no matter their background or party affiliation, obtain the identification they need to participate in our democracy. Our focus at STV is not on advocating for change in the laws. Nor are we helping voters circumvent them. We simply want to make it as easy as possible for Americans to follow the laws. We believe voting is the sacred right of every American, and every American should be able to exercise it.

Competitive Advantage

We are often answering the question of "If an ID is such a big deal, why don’t people just get them?" It’s a fairly simple process in theory - gather the necessary documents, go to your nearest ID-issuing office, and complete the application. States that require ID’s for voting even issue them for ‘free’ to comply with federal law (any fees would constitute poll taxes according to the 24th amendment). But study after study, along with Spread The Vote’s first-hand experience with our clients, has shown that even ‘free’ ID’s are often costly and difficult to obtain in practice. This work is complicated. And it’s expensive – the average cost of an ID is $40 but some can cost hundreds of dollars. So, why do we do it? Because it changes lives. Our clients have gotten jobs, supported their families through rough times, obtained crucial medical care, and so much more. IDs are necessary for life. We pride ourselves on filling a void in our communities and addressing a long overlooked issue.

Planned Goals and Milestones

In the coming months, we are planning to expand our efforts into all states that require voter identification.
Funding Goal10,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted20,000
New Implemented CountriesUnited States
Recruit500 Volunteers, 6 Board Members, 30 Staff
New FeatureIncrease the scope of our voter education programming by expanding our monthly partner program.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Kat Calvin, Founder and ED, attended Mount Holyoke College and the University of Michigan Law School. Gina Miles, Deputy ED, holds an MBA and experience in local/federal politics. Georgina Cannan, VP of Voter Education, specializes in voter protection. Seth Wainer, Director of Research and Data, worked in White House and Congress on technology. Marissa Goldfaden, General Counsel and Director of Comms, graduated from CUNY Law School and represented the most vulnerable members of our community.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Oct 2018
Sep 2018
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
United States