Planning Election Activities

When your PTA begins planning its election activities, there are some dates you need to know.

Arizona PTA holds a 501(c)(3) non profit tax exempt status. All charters of Arizona PTA receive benefit of this status. 501(c)(3)s are non partisan associations. This means that with respect to lobbying, we advocate for policy not party. All PTAs are 501(c)(3) under the Arizona PTA’s group exemption umbrella and all of the PTAs in Arizona have the same bylaws which already state we can conduct such efforts in our policies and principals (articles II and III of the unified local PTA/PTSA unit bylaws) The mission of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and the community to advocate for every child. It’s the very core of who and what we are. Our state legislative platform priorities allow us to speak to the issues (like teacher salaries) with our communities because it’s part of our core beliefs. ALL 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in issue advocacy. 

Directly from the IRS website regarding nonprofits: "Organizations may involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status."

Remember, every state has different procedures and deadlines so you will need to check with either your state’s secretary of state office or your local county elections office to get this information. Start by finding out the following information:

  • Does your state host primaries or caucuses?
  • What is the last day to register to vote for the primary or caucus?
  • Does your state have open or closed primaries? (Open primaries allow people to vote for any candidate they choose regardless of what party they are registered with.)
  • What is the date of the primary or caucus?
  • What is the last day to register to vote for the general election?
  • What is the date of the general election? 
  • What rules govern non-profit voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives in your state?

Types of events and activities PTAs organize
Election season can be a great time for PTAs to get our message out and let candidates and voters know our positions on important issues impacting the lives of children. Below is a list of possible activities your PTA can do:

  • Host a candidates’ forum.
  • Hold a voter registration drive at you school.
  • Publish a PTA voter’s guide.
  • Send out a PTA candidate questionnaire and publish responses.
  • Host a debate for local candidates for public office.
  • Take positions on ballot measures.
  • Run a get-out-the-vote drive with PTA members.
  • Run a mock election at your school for students.
  • Host a presidential debate-watching party.

© Arizona PTA 2016