Download the slide deck here for your review and reference: voter engagement and launching volunteers
Before you begin helping constituents register to vote, it is important to familiarize yourself with local voter registration laws and procedures. Some states like Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, and Texas you must be deputized before you register anyone. For example, in Texas you must do an in-person seminar to register voters and it only happens once or twice a month. The earlier and quicker you understand your state law, the easier the process should be. The first step in educating yourself is to check the Fair Elections Center website for their“Voter Registration Drive Guides.”
The option to register online is becoming more widely available and brings convenience to people trying to get registered on the go. Our program conducts online voter registration with the Rock the Vote (RTV) tool, in which each Ambassador campus has a unique URL that will automatically track the people who you register – please contact your APIAVote advisor if you do not know your unique RTV link. However, online registration might still require you to print the form for two reasons:
The best time to use Online Voter Registration is for social media pushes, or as a supplement if you don’t have a National Voter Registration form at your VR drive. Even if you are doing all paper voter registration, it would be good to have one computer or tablet handy just in-case you run out of paper state or national forms.
Pro-Tip: If possible, have a printer nearby just in case voters need to print and mail their voter registration application before they forget!
NOTE: These states do not have online registration
Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming
The traditional way of registering voters is still the easiest and fastest way to do so. Pick up forms from your local elections office, or print them off online. Be aware of the different state laws, because depending on the state it may be easier to print them off online or you must get them from your local elections office. Paper registration is where mistakes are most likely to happen. It’s imperative that you train all of your volunteers on how to identify mistakes and be vigilant in tracking forms.
State forms are usually preferable over the National Voter Registration form, but make sure you have several national forms for students who want to vote at home. Reference the guidelines at the beginning of the national forms to understand what is required of each state in order to register to vote. Some states do not require a driver’s license or social security number, and some states require party affiliation and race information, so always reference the guide to ensure your registrants are filling out the form properly.
Reference the Voter Registration Checklist and the voter registration tips below to learn more about how to conduct a successful paper voter registration drive.
We ask you to track information from the paper registration forms for two reasons: (1) to track the number of registrations that goes towards your VR goal and to follow up with registered voters through GOTV efforts. Keep in mind that in some states, there are laws regarding redaction before photocopying, so we advise that you do not photocopy your registrations. The best way to track is to record on an excel tracking sheet. The baseline information we need from each form is name, phone number, and address.
Pledge to vote cards are a great way to follow up with people that you speak to during your voter registration drives, whether they just got registered or they’re already registered! These cards can be physical or digital, and should have fields for name, address, and phone number. It is a great idea to have them ready at any vote registration event that you are hosting. Ask people to pledge to vote on the cards, and collect them so you can follow up with reminders before the next election or event!
PRO TIP: If you are working with an organization that won’t let you record your VRs to submit to APIAVote, use Pledge to Vote cards to capture the same information!