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 !”

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
kat@spreadthevote.org
@spreadthevoteus
facebook.com/spreadthevoteus

Back to all updates

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

  • endorsed

  • 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.”