As Americans, no right is more precious than the constitutional right to select our leaders. Yet many eligible citizens are not even registered to vote.You can help reach out to eligible people in your neighborhood who are not yet registered.
- Contact the board of registrar’s in the county where the drive will take place. This office can provide you with essential information and materials like voter registration forms. Ask how to store and drop-off the completed voter registration forms.
- Get the details before you bring treats. Some states prohibit any benefit or “reward” (such as balloons, candy, school credits, etc.) from being provided in exchange for registering to vote or voting. So do your research.
- Get institutions involved. Recruit students, church members or municipal workers, or go door to door.
- Be prepared! Make sure you have all the necessary supplies for the voter registration drive. Be sure to bring pens, clipboards, forms and volunteers.
- Be creative with your table Decorate it with bunting, balloons, and/or signs encouraging people to “Register to Vote Here.”
- Remember that your voter-registration drive must be nonpartisan. This means you cannot endorse a party or candidate while registering voters. In fact, the Federal Election Commission requires that a sign be posted or a written notice be available to registrants that states "Our voter registration services are available without regard to voters' political preference."
- Don’t be shy Have some volunteers standing with clipboards and registration forms in-hand, ready to ask passers-by if they are registered to vote.
- Have fun! You are helping citizens fulfill a civic responsibility!
The voting process is undergoing tremendous change. In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to help states improve registering and voting procedures. In many states you can register online. You may want to have this information available for people who are in a rush and may not have time to fill out the registration forms.
You’ll probably be asked some questions so be prepared. Below are some possible questions with answers:
Q. Who can register to vote in (insert your state’s name)?
A. To register to vote you must be: a citizen of the United States, a legal resident of the state where you are registering and of the county in which you wish to vote, at least 17 1/2 years of age (but you must be 18 at the time you will actually vote). You may NOT register to vote if you are currently serving any sentence imposed by the conviction of a felony or judicially determined to be mentally incompetent.
Q. Do I have to register by political party in (insert your state's name)?
A. The rules on this vary by state so find out first. Your local board of registrar’s office will have this information.
Q. Do I have to re-register if I move?
A. Yes. Voters are required to notify the board of registrar’s office of their county of residence whenever they move. If you move within 30 days of an election, you may vote in your old precinct for that election.
Q. When is the latest I can register for the next election?
A. This also varies per state. Contact your local board of registrar’s office for the details.
Q. Do I have to re-register for each election?
A. No, you only need to register once. Some states require that you vote at least once in a three year span. Contact your county board of registrar’s office for the details.
Q. Where do I vote?
A. After your county receives your voter registration form, you will receive a precinct card in the mail which will state the location of your polling place and your local, state, and federal districts. If you do not receive your precinct card within 30 days, contact the board of registrar’s office in your county.
Warning: A person who commits or attempts to commit any fraud in connection with voting, votes a fraudulent ballot, or votes more than once in an election can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up $5,000 and/or go to jail for up to 5 years.