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VoteRiders and Comics For a Cause: Get Out the VOTE !

#VoteRidersAuction

2020 has been a crazy downward spiral of emotions and insanity, and with probably the most important election of our lives almost a week away now it is more important than ever to exercise your right to VOTE. Making sure you are eligible to vote and getting the proper identification can be a hassle. The non-profit organization VoteRiders provide Voter ID assistance so that every American can cast a ballot that counts. Greg Pak and other comic book creatives have teamed up with VoteRiders for an exciting grassroots fundraiser to help get out the vote!

VoteRiders, (the nation’s leading nonprofit in voter ID and education) informs and helps citizens to secure their voter ID as well as inspires and supports organizations, local volunteers, and communities to sustain voter ID education and assistance efforts. VoteRiders works nationwide to provide voter ID education and assistance to all eligible voters who are in need. They equip voters with what they need to vote with confidence, knowing they cannot be turned away. I had the opportunity to speak with Laina Reynolds, (Director of Comms & Special Projects for VoteRiders) about the auction and about the non -profit organization with a mission to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their right to vote.

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VoteRiders has teamed up with writer and director Greg Pak and a group of authors, creatives, and activists who were inspired by the legacy of  the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to take action to get out the vote. Together, they created a grassroots auction on Twitter encouraging artists across the comic book world and other universes to offer up their original pieces in support of VoteRiders. 

The bidding took place online via Twitter using the hashtag #VoteRidersAuction, and once the bidding closed on 10/7, the highest bidder for each piece visited VoteRiders.org to make their donation and collect their prize.

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#VoteRidersAuction, which is raising money for @VoteRiders, a tremendous nonpartisan nonprofit that helps people get the ID they need to vote!

“I’m enormously grateful for all the amazing creators and bidders who came together during such an overwhelming week in an overwhelming year to help raise money to help people get the ID they need to vote. It shows how much people care about the right to vote and how important it is to support it.” – Greg Pak

ITEMS THAT WERE WON INCLUDED:

·         From Greg Pak: A hardcover set of Planet Hulk/World War Hulk/Incredible Herc/Skaar books
·         From Trung Le Capecchi-Nguyen: A pen and ink mermaid drawing
·         From Aaron Kuder: Guardians of the Galaxy cover art
·         From Gwenda Bond, Kami Garcia and Sam Humphries: A Zoom call with Gwenda, Kami and Sam
·         From Brian Michael Bendis: Rare books and collectible comics, signed by Brian Michael Bendis
·         From John Hodgman: A 1-on-1 Zoom and signed copies of all of his books

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About VoteRiders:

Voter ID laws prevent or intimidate millions of eligible Americans from casting their ballot.
To address this crisis in our democracy, VoteRiders works nationwide to provide voter ID education and assistance to all eligible voters who are in need. Today, the VoteRiders team works alongside more than 500 partner organizations and thousands of volunteers (including an army of pro bono lawyers) across the country.

Laina Reynolds Levy, PhD

Director of Communications and Development Laina Reynolds Levy, PhD, has been engaged for two decades in democracy promotion and citizen participation. She has extensive experience in building collaborative partnerships with grassroots organizations along with managing communications campaigns and network knowledge-sharing initiatives.

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1. With the upcoming 2020 election and possibly one of the most important elections in history, can you tell us about Voter ID, and the mission of the non- profit organization VoteRiders. 
(VOTERIDERS HAS YOUR BACK ON VOTER ID)

Registering to Vote is Not Enough
In 35 states, you may also need ID

Voter ID laws require or request that you confirm your identity using specific forms of ID. You might need to show ID at the polls, include a copy with your absentee ballot application, or enclose one when you vote by mail.

(EVERY STATE HAS DIFFERENT RULES)

*At least 25 million voting age American citizens don’t have CURRENT government issued photo ID (11%) (meaning that is has their current name and address)
*Among Black Americans, rate is 1 in 4 (25%) don’t have current gov’t-issued photo ID
Among Young people (18-24), rate is 18%
*35 states have voter ID laws this year, and the details of what IDs are accepted are different in every state
*People are moving more this year because of pandemic and may not know what they need in their new state. Rules are changing and are different for voting by mail – again because of pandemic. We encourage people to double-check that they have the ID they need to vote in their state by visiting voteriders.org or calling/texting our Voter ID Helpline: 844-338-8743

It can be incredibly complicated to obtain an id. In addition people can get confused over voter id rules as they are different in every state. This can intimidate people into not voting. VoteRiders provides people with the info they need to know if id is valid, also helps secure an ID for people that don’t have one. VoteRiders will also help by paying for rides for those who can’t access voting centers, will order copies of birth certificates and important documents, and also offers legal assistance pro bono.

2. Can you tell us about the VoteRiders Initiative project and the Collaborative grassroots Twitter auction with comic creators that are offering up their original work for VoteRiders to help get out the vote?

A fantastic group of supporters including Greg Pak, who is a friend of voteriders came together after the death of Justice Ginsburg to honor her legacy and support the right to vote, and to make sure everyone is able to vote in this very critical election. Comic artists, writers and creators put items from their own collections to auction, also offering one on one zoom sessions and interactive chats.

The team of creators offered original cover art, and rare comics for auction on Twitter where people bid for these exciting treasures. The winners of the winning bid would claim their prize and donate to the cause.

3. For over 20 years you have been engaged in democracy promotion, with experience in collaborative partnerships with grassroots organizations and managing communications campaigns. Why comics and how did you get involved with this project?

Greg Pak and his friends organized this grassroots projects for supporting the right to vote. Greg has been a major supporter over the last few years and he reached out to bring the community together in a fun creative way.

By now you’ve probably figured out how much I care about voting rights. So I’m thrilled to join a bunch of writers & creators for the #VoteRidersAuction, which is raising money for @VoteRiders, a tremendous nonpartisan nonprofit that helps people get the ID they need to vote! (Greg Pak)

4. This project has some big names in comics involved, like Greg Pak, Brian Michael Bendis, and Kami Garcia. Getting these artists to come on board, how does the auction help the cause and what happens next?

Writer and director Greg Pak and a group of authors, creatives, and activists reached out to their networks in a very grassroots effort to get more people to vote. This was a really exciting opportunity to make any kind of contribution in ensuring people’s right to vote.

The Auction raised over $20,600. The money goes towards helping voters with voter ID issues, including:

*Average $25 order lift/ uber to dmv (getting registered voters to locations that may not be accessible)

*Average $50 to order birth-certificates documents

*$100 for more complicated name-change documentation issues

*Penny per text to reach voters with info about what ID is valid in their state

*VoteRiders will do whatever is needed to get a voter their ID to vote – including pro bono legal assistance.Donate at voteriders.org/donate

5. Do you find it difficult to reach certain age groups or demographics ? How has social media helped make an impact targeting certain audiences to get more involvement on projects like this?

With the pandemic there have been many challenges and reaching some people has been super difficult. Typically before Covid would hold Neighborhood canvassing, in person organizing, and voter events. A lot of people can’t afford documents to get id, so it’s really critical to reach everyone using social media and every avenue we can. Now there are definitely more digital methods, also phone- banking and texting. Every little outreach helps, the people most difficult to reach need these resources. 

Critical research has shown nationwide 11% voting age don’t have current ID.

Mentioned above:
*People are moving more this year because of pandemic and may not know what they need in their new state. Rules are changing and are different for voting by mail – again because of pandemic. We encourage people to double-check that they have the ID they need to vote in their state by visiting voteriders.org or calling/texting our Voter ID Helpline: 844-338-8743

VoteRiders also helps ensure that the voices of people who are newly registered are heard at the ballot office. People that have recently completed terms of conviction and are given full citizenship back also have the right to vote.

Recent phonebanking event for Florida on Saturday 10/24: voteriders.org/free
We are partnering with Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to call returning citizens In 2018, Amendment 4 passed in Florida which restored the right to vote for 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions. FRRC and VoteRiders have been working together to get these citizens ready to vote including paying off their fines and fees and getting them ID so they can vote. On Saturday we’ll be calling all the newly registered returning citizens and making sure they have everything they need to vote.

6. How can people get involved and continue to participate or help the initiative ?

Stay up to date on Twitter, more authors that did not get in the first wave will set up other items for auction. There will be more items from Young Adult Sci. Fiction authors. The last couple weeks will be a very intensive effort to help voters have confidence. There will be more Phone banking and more text banking opportunities.

Website volunteer sign up: VOLUNTEER

Spread word on social media, Follow and share crucial information.
VoteRiders Twitter / FB : @VoteRiders
Instagram: @thevoteriders

7. What else do you have planned regarding this upcoming election or other future plans to help encourage more voters to take a stand? Anything else you would like to mention?

Step on the ground organization in Milkwaukee, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and N. Carolina. VoteRiders has over 600 partner organizations spread across the country. VoteRiders is always making sure to be answering questions on all platforms and making sure everyone has what they need. Past Nov. 3rd will still be continuing the work to get voters.

DONATE

(VoteRiders is a Non -profit and all donations are tax deductible)
https://www.voteriders.org/donate/

Critical call to action 

Follow share information 

Voter ID Helpline: 844-338-8743
Call or text Any questions

Voteriders.org specific info your state

https://twitter.com/VoteRiders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Eembeddedtimeline%7Ctwterm%5Eprofile%3AVoteRiders&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fgothamgeekgirl.com%2F2020%2F10%2F26%2Fvoteriders-and-comics-for-a-cause-get-out-the-vote%2F

Trust Me, I'm a Superhero

About Nadya Martinez

HI! My name is Nadya Martinez AKA GothamGeekGirl; I’m a comic book enthusiast, annual comic con attendee, movie loving, art freak. Writer/ photographer for G33K-HQ and GothamGeekGirl who loves to draw comics, cosplay, read indie comics and connect with other geeky minds. Always looking for what's new in comics, gaming and entertainment, helping to promote brands, events and creators across the Geek community. I am also very inspired by Japanese culture, hence I am learning the language!!

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