Preparing for Election 2020

As we all prepare for what may be a contentious election, we know mayors serve as an important community convener and messenger to ensuring their residents know how voting will work this year and what to expect. In this toolkit you will find general messaging and talking points, along with tools and ideas for how to deploy this messaging.

Over Zero and Delivery Associates: Election Violence Prevention Toolkit:

Peaceful elections have always been essential to the democratic process in the United States. As we find ourselves in a moment of heightened tensions at the national level, it’s increasingly important to work proactively to prevent political and election-related violence. Over Zero together with Delivery Associates has released an Election Violence Prevention Toolkit for mayors, downloadable here. This toolkit supports Mayors as they play a critical role in creating a positive, peaceful, inclusive, and informative election environment in their communities.

ADL H.E.A.T. Map

ADL H.E.A.T. (Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism, and Terrorism) Map is the first-of-its-kind interactive and customizable map detailing extremist and anti-Semitic incidents around the nation. ADL experts in its Center on Extremism developed this unique visualization with data points extracted from information sources including news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources, Center on Extremism investigations and more.

This is a tool that can be used to assess the threat of Election Day and violence and the potential for conflicts before, during, and after.

Ohio Mayors Alliance Messaging:

Our elections are secure:

America is looked to by other countries for how to run a safe and secure election.

Ohio has a strong history of running safe, secure, bipartisan elections. This year will be no different. For the average voter, they may choose to vote a different way for the first time to protect their health, but our three ways of voting have been executed safely and smoothly for years. Absentee voting is a legitimate and safe option for voting. Any registered voter can request their absentee ballot now.

Our elections are run by state and local government:

Ohio’s election workers are our neighbors and friends who work hard to make sure every ballot is counted, fairly and properly. Our election systems are not perfect, but we can trust our local election workers to ensure the accuracy of this year’s election.

If you are interested in understanding how our elections are run, consider signing up to be a poll worker.

Our boards of elections are built on our democratic system of checks and balances and are run by a bipartisan board. Our boards of elections have overseen elections with both Republican and Democrat winners.

Voters decide the results of the election:

We, the voters, decide the election. Our democracy is built on the will of the people and we have the power to determine who leads our country. It is important we as voters all exercise this right.


Identify trusted messengers in your community: While you can speak to your residents, there may be other individuals in your city, including council members, faith leaders, education leaders, etc. who may speak to more specific, more vulnerable populations. Bring them into this effort and share our content with them to use with their community to spread the message about voting this year.

Use a united brand: During a contentious time heightened by COVID-19, it is important to remind your residents that we have a lot more in common than what divides us. You can repurpose the #InThisTogether graphics used in COVID response for this effort as well.

Work with your county Boards of Elections: Build a strong relationship with your BOEs to work together on this effort, you can help them disseminate voter information and they can help you with technical voting information. Bringing in your BOE Director for Facebook Live chats, PSAs, etc. This effort will also add a layer of trust, showing that those who run our elections are members of our community.

Where and how to deploy the messaging:

Social Media: Connect with your residents online with your mayor’s social media and the social media platforms of your identified trusted messengers. Below are sample social media posts and graphics that can be deployed easily. But there are other great tools that you can utilize to get the word out. Consider using your channels or the channels of your community stakeholders to do community conversations and answer questions on Facebook Live or Instagram Live.

Local newspapers and news stations: In consultation with your local Board of Elections, pitch stories to your local media on covering early voting and absentee voting to educate voters on the process and/or correct misinformation. Stories ideas could include steps the BOE is taking to protect voter safety, how the mayor (or other community leaders) are planning to vote, and how absentee voting works (highlighting where the county drop box is).

PSAs: Consider filming a short video you can use on social media and send to local TV stations to air. This is a great way to plug in other community leaders and the BOE to collaborate on the PSAs. The message should educate voters on the voting process, encourage voter participation, and reinforce positive norms.

Voter Tools from the Ohio Secretary of State:

Absentee ballot tracker: Voters can use this online tracking tool to track the status of their mail-in ballot, from printed to accepted to ensure their ballot it received by their Board of Elections

Is Absentee Voting Safe and Secure?: Yes. For nearly two decades, Ohio has allowed voters to cast their ballots by mail, this experience has allowed Ohio to establish a secure early voting process and has established Ohio as a national leader in election security.

Early voting schedule: Early voting is a great option for voters to cast their ballots before Election Day at a time that is more convenient for them. Early voting runs from October 6 – November 2.

Board of Elections Health Guidance: If your residents choose to vote on Election Day, they should know that the Ohio Secretary of State has worked with the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC to develop clear health guidelines to ensure voter safety at the polls.

Poll Worker Recruitment:

On Election Day, thousands of Ohioans play an important role in our democracy by helping to operate neighborhood polling places. Ohio’s poll workers work hard to ensure their neighbors have a positive experience when casting a ballot. These volunteers help safeguard the process so all Ohioans can have confidence in the results. Promoting this opportunity to your residents highlights how local our elections are run and ensure a smooth Election Day.