Marvin is a wonderful, sweet gentleman who lives in a tiny boarding house in Atlanta. We met him this summer and we started working to get him an ID. But Marvin was born in a Jim Crow town that didn't give birth certificates to black babies. It's tough enough to get a birth certificate REPLACED, but when you never had one in the first place... that's a challenge. 

So, we had to FOIA the Social Security Administration for something called a Numident Record. It costs $27 and it's basically a history of your Social Security life and in some states, for some forms of ID, if you are a certain age you can use it in place of a birth certificate. 

As you can imagine, the SSA is not the fastest agency in the world. It took almost four months to get Marvin's ID. Our amazing volunteer Karen was on the phone with them every week trying to find out when they would mail the record. And Marvin was calling me every week because this ID means everything to him.

You see, Marvin is trapped in his home because in order to take wheelchair-accessible public transportation you need an ID to sign up. Seriously. 

Not only that, but he is spending most of his income on rent for his very small room in the boarding house. He has an opportunity for better, less expensive housing but, you guessed it, he needs ID. 

So Marvin called every week for three months and every week we had to say "We're so sorry Marvin, we're doing everything we can, we just have to keep waiting". It was terrible. 

But then the SSA finally mailed the form. It was thrilling. Of course, then we had the problem of transportation. Like I said, he can't take public transportation. So we had to hire a private company to pick him up, wait while they were at the DMV, and take him home. It cost $130. There is no way Marvin would have been able to afford that on his own. 

And then this morning, Karen took Marvin to the DMV and he got his ID! 

It cost us $189.

When we went to Marvin's house this summer and told him that we were getting him an ID, he asked how much it would cost. We told him we would pay for everything and he started to cry. Because, like every single person we work with, he knew that he would never be able to afford an ID on his own. 

This is the work we do every day at Spread The Vote. We help people get the IDs they need to work, to sleep under a roof, get medical care, and of course, vote. It's not easy. It's not cheap. But it's worth it. We do this work because we care about our country, we care about the people living in it, and we want to make an impact in the best way we know how.

And we need your help.

We launched our first chapter in Georgia in May, Virginia in July, and our first campus chapter at the University of Tennessee in October. In January 2018 we launch in Florida and Texas in March. 

57% of our voters need birth certificates at an average $60.

IDs cost an average of $40 and range from $20 to over $100 all in.

It costs:

  • $500 to train and launch a new community chapter.
  • $25,000 to launch a new state. 
  • $75,000 to hire a state director to train, support, and organize volunteers and build more chapters across each state.

With your help we can spend 2018 getting more voters like Marvin the IDs they need to live full and healthy lives and to make their voices heard at the ballot box for midterms. 

Thank you so much for your support.

Kat Calvin

Founder, Spread The Vote

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Get IDs because having identification makes a person identifiable and it allows a person to use his/her voice.”

  • endorsed

    “IDs allow us to participate in society and exercise our rights as citizens.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Get IDs because they are working to improve access to services that help meet basic human needs, and that matters.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Get IDs because every citizen should be recognized and have access to the services IDs can provide.”

  • endorsed

    “I supported Get IDs for #morethanvoting because I know how important it is to have an ID, and how much red tape can tangle you up. Someone to help those in need? Priceless!”

  • endorsed

    “The key to changing Washington is getting Democrats elected to congress and the key to making that happen is getting people in GA voter IDs.”

  • endorsed

    “I love the idea of having subject matter experts helping in this area. Navigating bureaucracy is hard yo”

  • endorsed

    “It acknowledges the personhood of everyone”

  • endorsed

    “We The People...”

  • endorsed

    “Because disenfranchisement is the leaky funnel of democracy.”

January 2, 2018

Thank you and happy new year!

As we start a new and very hopeful year, I just want to say thank you so much for your incredible support during our Crowdpac campaign. We are already working on getting IDs, building new chapters, launching in new states, and adding more team members to make the biggest impact we can in people's lives and at the polls in November. 

Please keep in touch with us at, @spreadthevoteus and

Thank you, and let's get to work!

Kat Calvin

Founder, Spread The Vote

December 19, 2017

So... That just happened.

Remember that election we had in Virginia way back a month and a half slash fifteen Trump years ago? Well, it's still not over. 

Recounts are reallly slow and the state of Virginia is clearly going for a record. But today one of the last elections was decided, in the absolutely craziest way.

Shelly Simonds (D) just won the seat for VA House District 94 BY ONE VOTE. One. Vote.

And that's not even the craziest part. 

Simonds' victory means that the Virginia House of Delegates is now TIED 50 Democrats - 50 Republicans.

One vote tied the state legislature. One person did that. 

It's funny how many times a day someone tells me that getting IDs doesn't really matter because it takes a lot of time and a lot of money and you can never get enough to really impact an election. 


This is why our work matters. IDs change lives, they change local elections, and they will be the difference between successful voter suppression and impacting every election in the country. The best way to impact an election is to get more voters to the polls. We're making new voters every day. And all it takes is one vote to make a difference. 

Our teams are still working in Virginia every day getting IDs. We just got a new voter an ID this morning! Please help support our work. It costs an average of $40 to get an ID. And just one of those IDs can make the difference in the next election.

Thank you, and keep voting.

December 13, 2017

Building Up Our Communities

Getting IDs is about helping individuals live their best lives, which in turn helps build communities, which in turn builds stronger states and a better country. It all happens one voter at a time. 

At Spread The Vote, we build hyper-local chapters with dedicated and trained volunteers who are helping people who live right in their own neighborhoods. 

Getting someone an ID takes a lot of time, trust, and attention. It means meeting regularly with a voter to walk them through paperwork applications, drive them to various government agencies, and eventually taking them to the DMV to get their ID. In all of the weeks that it takes to get an ID, our volunteers build relationships with their voters and really start to care about them.

One of our volunteers helped a homeless teen get an ID, and also found her a family to live with.

One volunteer helped a pregnant mother get an ID and drove her around town to get prenatal care and other items that she needed for a healthy pregnancy.

Our volunteers frequently start helping someone get an ID and end up helping them find legal and other kinds of assistance for other challenges in their lives.

Best of all, our volunteers love to keep up with our voters and celebrate when they go to the polls, get jobs, find housing, and more.

One of our biggest celebrations happened just last week with Carlton.

We met Carlton at a Virginia shelter where our volunteers work frequently. Carlton has been working hard to get back on his feet and had even found a job. But he couldn’t start without an ID and he didn’t have the money for a birth certificate, didn’t have the other necessary documents, and couldn’t afford the ID itself. It was also close to election day and he wanted to vote. He was registered but didn’t have an ID.

Our volunteers helped him get a birth certificate ($70.71), took him to get a free voter ID, and when he had all of his documents, got him a photo ID ($20). On election day, they drove him to the polls and he voted for the first time since the 90s.

And, the week after he got his temporary ID, his new boss let him start his new job! Last week the volunteer who helped Carlton het his ID ran into him at work! They were both so excited the took a picture and immediately sent it to the STV team. Carlton is loving his new job and his shelter is now helping him find an apartment!

It cost $90.71 to get Carlton the ID that changed his life. $90.71 to take someone off the streets and help them become an active member of the community. That's what we're doing at Spread The Vote. Thank you so much for supporting us. 


December 2, 2017

Keep working, Keep Fighting, Keep Going

If you're like me, you were up well past your bedtime watching a national travesty on C-SPAN. After receiving a bill that would change the lives of every single American only a few hours before, the Senate voted to destroy the lower and middle class and give the 1% everything they've ever wanted and more.

All I could think was "this is going to hurt our voters". The most vulnerable members of our society are always the ones who are hit the hardest by these measures. Even if they don't pay taxes because they cannot yet work, the real trickle down is the trickle of poverty and pain that comes from a massive expansion of income inequality.

Normally, in situations like this, I feel hopeless. But not today. Because today I know that everything that we are doing at Spread The Vote is going to make all of the difference for so many people. I may not be able to stop Congress from passing the most destructive bill that my generation has ever seen, but I can help the people it will hurt the most every single day. And if you're reading this email, you're helping too.

Let's spend this holiday season laying the foundation for a better life for our fellow citizens, and a better Congress for all of us in 2018. If you're reading this, you can help. Forward this email to a friend, RT or share a social media post, and donate $20 if you can. 

We really are changing lives every day. After last night, I am more determined than ever. Will you fight with us?

Kat Calvin

Founder, Spread The Vote

November 29, 2017

Thank you for an amazing Giving Tuesday!

WOW! Yesterday was an amazing day and so much fun! We want to send a HUGE thank you to Let America Vote for sponsoring us for Giving Tuesday, we are so lucky to have such great partners! And thank you so much to everyone who donated, endorsed, and shared us yesterday!

Yesterday was the first day of our holiday fundraiser and it was even better than we expected. Now we're keeping it going so we can get more DIs for our voters. Voters like Mr. Teah.

We met Mr. Teah at a shelter in Arlington, Virginia. He lost all of his documents from the complications of homelessness.

Mr. Teah has trouble walking but doesn’t have a wheelchair, so for the
election one of our volunteers brought a wheelchair from home, took him to get his voter ID at the Arlington County Registrar’s office, and then took him to vote!

Now we are working to help Mr. Teah collect documents so he can get his Virginia ID. He’s a US citizen but he was born in a foreign country, so we can’t get a US birth certificate and replacing citizenship docs is
expensive, $555 in fact, and difficult to get. YES I SAID $555.

Spread The Vote is committed to helping Mr. Teah replace his citizenship papers so he can get the ID he needs to get out of the shelter and replace his Medicaid card so he can get medical care. 

Medical care. And it's $555 just for one set of documents.

Luckily, this STV chapter has a volunteer with a wheelchair-accessible
van that she's generously offering for transportation. Without her we
would have to hire private transportation. These are the roadblocks that people face when they need IDs. It's just wrong.

People like Mr. Teah are the reason that we are working every single day to get the IDs that our voters need to get to the polls, and rebuild their lives. Please share Mr. Teah's story with your friends, and help us help many more voters in 2018.
Thank you so much,

Kat Calvin

Founder, Spread The Vote

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