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When will this contest happen?

We will be accepting video submissions from September 20 to October 20. The winners will be announced on November 1. The Online Vote begins at 12pm on Friday, October 23 and ends at 12pm on Thursday, October 29.

Who is eligible to participate in the contest?

The contest is open to all U.S. residents who learned or are learning English as a second language—citizens or non-citizens, documented or undocumented.


What kind of video should I make?

It’s up to you! You can tell your own story. You can tell the story of a friend or a family member. You can interview people in your neighborhood. You can use music or animation. You can make a documentary or a fictional narrative using actors. Your answer to the question “Why vote?” can be a poem or song, and you can build your video around it. Whatever approach you take, your video should express your ideas from an immigrant’s point of view.


How long should my video be?

Your video should be a minimum of 30 seconds and a maximum of 3 minutes. Winners will be chosen based upon the quality, power and effectiveness of the videos they make, within those time limits.


What language should I use in the video?

Your video can be in English and/or your first language. If you use your first language, you need to include English subtitles.

Can I submit more than one video?

Yes! You can submit up to 5 videos for this contest. 


Can groups submit videos?

Yes! You can make and submit a video as a group.

Do I need to be a filmmaker, artist or activist to participate?

You do not need to be a filmmaker, artist or activist to participate. You only need to be concerned about democracy and human rights in the United States of America! For those of you interested in activism and leadership, we’ll provide opportunities to get involved in efforts to register new voters and defend immigrant rights.

Where Can I find resources to help me make my video?

Helpful resources for making a video with your phone are located on our Mobile Videography Resources page.

Are there any restrictions?

Write for Democracy is a non-partisan organization. Our goal is to encourage all people to participate in the political process, not to tell them how to vote. We cannot accept submissions that support or oppose a particular political party or candidate.

How can I enter the contest? 

To enter the contest you must fill out the submission form and submit your video. You will find instructions on how to submit your video on the Submission Form. 

What are the prizes?


  • Online Vote Prizes:

One $300 first place prize and four $50 runner-up prizes will be awarded based on the results of the online vote.

  • Juried Prizes:

One $300 first place prize and four $50 runner-up prizes will be awarded by our panel of judges.

How does the online vote work?

We encourage you, your friends and your family to cast your vote for the Why Vote? 2020 Video Contest. You can do this by selecting your favorite video from the Video Contest Gallery and submitting your choice through the Online Vote Form

The Online Vote begins at 12pm on Friday, October 23 and ends at 12pm on Thursday, October 29.


How will my video be judged for the juried prizes?

Your video submission will be judged by a group of expert judges. The following criteria will be used to judge your video: 


  • Does the video answer the question, why vote? 

  • Will the video make people in your community want to vote? 

  • Does the video directly address a topic related to voting, democracy and/or government in the United States? 

  • Does the video offer a new point of view or way of thinking about the topic or about voting and democracy? 



  • Does the video immediately catch the viewer’s interest? Does it make them want to watch the entire video? 

  • Is the video provocative? Does it cause an emotional response? Will it lead to discussion and debate? Will people want to share it with their family and friends? 

  • Would the video be interesting to many different types of people? 

  • Is the length of the video appropriate?

When will the winners be announced?

Winners from both the Online Vote and the Juried Vote will be announced on Sunday, November 1. We will have the announcement posted on our website and will send out announcements via email.

Make sure you have read and understand the official Contest Rules and Regulations.

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