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

    “The United States needs to start giving the less fortunate a hand up rather than a boot on the neck when they're down.”

  • endorsed

    “I support this effort to help people get ID's because I believe we all need to take action against the recent court decision that allows states to strike voters from voting lists simply because they have not voted in the last two years. This puts unnecessary barriers in the way of citizens at a time when it is most crucial for all of us to have a voice.”

  • endorsed

    “Everyone should have the opportunity to live in our society and have equal access to services and to vote. Suppression of the people has to stop. I am so grateful you started this organization.”

  • endorsed

    “I support GetIDs for #morethanvoting because we all deserve our rights as citizens.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Get Id's for #morethanvoting because I have seen firsthand how not having ID can make things like obtaining housing impossible for people.”

  • endorsed

    “Everyone should be able to function in the world today! It's not just about voting, it's about being able to have a home and get health care and use public transport. And to have human dignity. We all deserve that.”

  • endorsed

    “I want every eligible American to be a voter this fall.”

  • endorsed

    “This is the most important focus ... helping the disenfranchised get their right to vote .thank you”

  • endorsed

    “Americans who were not given birth certificates because of their skin color and the state they were born in, deserve the dignity to prove their identity. #MoreThanVoting”

  • endorsed

    “What a brilliant idea !”

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

Back to all updates

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

  • endorsed

    “The United States needs to start giving the less fortunate a hand up rather than a boot on the neck when they're down.”

  • endorsed

    “I support this effort to help people get ID's because I believe we all need to take action against the recent court decision that allows states to strike voters from voting lists simply because they have not voted in the last two years. This puts unnecessary barriers in the way of citizens at a time when it is most crucial for all of us to have a voice.”

  • endorsed

    “Everyone should have the opportunity to live in our society and have equal access to services and to vote. Suppression of the people has to stop. I am so grateful you started this organization.”

  • endorsed

    “I support GetIDs for #morethanvoting because we all deserve our rights as citizens.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Get Id's for #morethanvoting because I have seen firsthand how not having ID can make things like obtaining housing impossible for people.”

  • endorsed

    “Everyone should be able to function in the world today! It's not just about voting, it's about being able to have a home and get health care and use public transport. And to have human dignity. We all deserve that.”

  • endorsed

    “I want every eligible American to be a voter this fall.”

  • endorsed

    “This is the most important focus ... helping the disenfranchised get their right to vote .thank you”

  • endorsed

    “Americans who were not given birth certificates because of their skin color and the state they were born in, deserve the dignity to prove their identity. #MoreThanVoting”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “What a brilliant idea !”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “What a brilliant idea to provide people to exercise their right to vote!”

  • endorsed

    “This is such a good idea! I can't imagine trying to navigate life without ID. I'm in. Happy to support the effort. Thanks for thinking of this.”

  • endorsed

    “I can’t imagine bring stuck in the circle of needing an ID for opportunites and not having those opportunities creating a situation wnere I can’t get an ID.”

  • endorsed

    “I can't imagine being denied the vote (and other benefits) because you have no ID. This is an easy way to help.”

  • endorsed

    “I want to get out there and help these people get their IDs, make their lives better, be able to vote and feel like they can make a difference.”

  • endorsed

    “Having a state ID opens doors to transportation, housing, education, for #morethanvoting.”

  • endorsed

    “I have seen first hand what happens to voters without a mandated ID. The foundation of our democracy is at stake. Helping someone get an ID is an act of patriotism.”

  • endorsed

    “The cost and hassle of ID’s is the new Pole Tax to block voters. Help people get those ID’s.”

  • endorsed