Non-profit

Project Vote

Website:

www.projectvote.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

72-1268719

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $2,540,294
Expenses: $2,981,861
Assets: $310,207

In Operation:

1982-2017

Project of:

Americans for Civic Participation (Defunct)

Founder:

Sandy Newman

President and Executive Director:

Michael Slater

From 1982 until its closure in 2017, Project Vote was a left-of-center voter rights and activation nonprofit that worked to expand the number of minority voters. It conducted voter registration events and “get out the vote” initiatives in neighborhoods of color, and brought legal action against state voter identification measures. [1]

Citing recent funding shortages, the organization permanently closed in 2017. However, the organization’s website continues to be maintained as a source of information for the left-of-center voting rights community. [2]

Background

Project Vote was founded by Sandy Newman in 1982. [3] A decade later, Newman decided to open an office in Cook County, Illinois. Newman hired recent a Harvard Law graduate, Barack Obama, to be the director of the new division, which helped build his name-recognition in Illinois politics. According to one report, Obama and his office registered 150,000 minority voters before the 1992 elections. Chicago Magazine, which published a piece following the election, credited those new voters with flipping several seats in the local and state government. [4]

In 1994, the organization began a decades-spanning relationship with the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). [5] A leading force within the left-of-center voter registration and activation community for over 20 years, Project Vote—experiencing a funding shortage—permanently closed on May 31, 2017. [6]

Activities

Project Vote’s mission was to raise the number of left-leaning ethnic minorities taking part in the electoral process. The organization devised three issue-specific programs to help facilitate its mission: Voter Participation, Election Administration, and Government Agency Voter Registration. [7]

With the Voter Participation program, Project Vote sought to expand voter participation rates of historically marginalized populations. It ran extensive voter registration campaigns in neighborhoods of color, and near elections, employed local organizers to conduct “get out the vote” campaigns in areas with the highest amount of traffic. [8]

Project Vote used its second program, Election Administration, to oppose electoral integrity measures. [9]It advocated for the abolishment of voter identification laws, claiming that they disproportionately impact minority and low-income voters. [10] Project Vote, addressing the issue in a lengthy report, The Politics of Voter Fraud, claimed that “the claim that voter fraud threatens the integrity of American elections is itself a fraud.” [11]

The organization’s third program, Public Agency Registration, was the litigation arm of Project Vote. Project Vote would file lawsuits against government agencies enforcing voter registration policies. [12]

Funding

In 2016, Project Vote reported earnings of approximately $2.5 million, and nearly $3 million in expenses. [13] Over the years, some of Project Vote’s biggest donors included the now-defunct Beldon Fund, Herb Block Foundation, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, and Tides Foundation. [14] [15] [16] [17]

Leadership

For over a decade, Michael Slater served as the president and executive director of Project Vote. [18]

Partnerships

Project Vote often partnered with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) to carry out various initiatives, although both organizations denied any formal relationship. [19]

References

  1. “Voter Participation.” Project Vote. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/about/programs/voter-participation-program/.
  2. “Project Vote to Close Its Doors on May 31st.” Project Vote. May 25, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/blog/project-vote-close-doors-may-31st/.
  3. Reynolds, Gretchen. “Vote of Confidence.” Chicago Magazine. January 01, 1993. Accessed May 16, 2019. https://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-1993/Vote-of-Confidence/.
  4. Reynolds, Gretchen. “Vote of Confidence.” Chicago Magazine. January 01, 1993. Accessed May 16, 2019. https://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-1993/Vote-of-Confidence/.
  5. Holan, Angie D. “Project Vote Not “an Arm of ACORN”.” POLITIFACT. October 17, 2008. Accessed May 17, 2019. https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/oct/17/john-mccain/project-vote-not-an-arm-of-acorn/.
  6. “Project Vote to Close Its Doors on May 31st.” Project Vote. May 25, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/blog/project-vote-close-doors-may-31st/.
  7. “About.” Project Vote. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/about/.
  8. “About.” Project Vote. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/about/.
  9. “Voting Policy.” Project Vote. Accessed May 17, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/issues/voting-policy/.
  10. “Voting Policy.” Project Vote. Accessed May 17, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/issues/voting-policy/.
  11. Minnite, Lorraine C., Ph.D. The Politics of Voter Fraud. Barnard College, Columbia University. October 2010. Accessed May 10, 2019. http://www.capitalresearch.org/app/uploads/2008/10/politics_of_voter_fraud_final.pdf.
  12. “Election Administration.” Project Vote. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.projectvote.org/about/programs/election-administration-program/.
  13. Project Vote Inc, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016.
  14. “Project Vote/Voting for America.” Beldon Fund. October 2010. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.beldon.org/beldon/grantees/grant_details.asp?gid=20070190.
  15. “Grantees.” The Herb Block Foundation. Accessed May 16, 2019. https://www.herbblockfoundation.org/programs/grantees.
  16. “Grants Database.” Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. Accessed May 16, 2019. http://www.ldgfund.org/our-grants/grants-database/?title=Project Vote&program=&support=&grantyear=.
  17. Ludwig, Hayden. “Corrupt Project VOTE Shuts Down.” Capital Research Center. August 31, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/corrupt-project-vote-shuts-down/.
  18. Project Vote Inc, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016.
  19. Evans, Will. “ACORN’s Money Tree Has Many Branches.” NPR. October 15, 2008. Accessed May 16, 2019. https://www.npr.org/sections/secretmoney/2008/10/acorns_money_tree_has_many_bra.html.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Marvin Randolph
    Former Executive Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 1994

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,540,294 $2,981,861 $310,207 $315,463 N $2,175,859 $308,650 $190 $224,496
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,720,083 $2,798,840 $2,070,909 $1,634,598 N $1,619,927 $99,781 $375 $197,222 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $4,924,355 $4,361,371 $1,872,906 $345,312 N $4,923,079 $0 $411 $121,289 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,459,636 $1,929,641 $1,249,865 $283,946 N $1,377,384 $82,077 $175 $134,480 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $5,332,531 $4,150,777 $2,100,211 $666,237 N $5,191,329 $126,092 $60 $103,128 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,646,118 $1,580,407 $477,208 $225,405 N $1,340,658 $304,801 $97 $89,259 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $2,865,115 $2,547,722 $414,163 $228,506 N $2,568,557 $285,361 $3,919 $102,538 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Project Vote

    1350 I ST NW STE 1250
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-3389