To the best of my knowledge, I am the local queen of Voter Registration because I AM a Voter Registration Drive. I am challenging you to surpass me, because…
If one is unregistered, one cannot vote.
Therefore, there is that step prior to canvassing, phone banking, persuasion, and all the rest that goes into candidate and issue campaigns. In working the registration process, when you meet people who are registered, you are provided an opportunity to engage them, too. We’ll circle back to that latter point.
Here are some things that you can do to register voters…first, always have a few voter registration forms with you (in English and Spanish). Know how to fill out the form, especially the “Municipality” box. Know why registration is important to you. Be prepared with responses to the reasons people give for why they will not register. And then….
- Get a list of “Blank Houses” in your neighborhood. These are houses where we know there are unregistered voters.
- Meet new neighbors! When you see a moving truck, show up with baked goods and voter registration forms. Personally, I use Entenmann’s because I don’t know how to bake, and anything I’ve ever tried to make elicits bad faces from those who try my attempts. You may have that baking skill.
- When the wait person brings your check and asks if there’s anything else you’d like, ask if he/she is registered to vote. If he/she says no, whip out that form! If the wait person is registered, ask if he/she knows when the next election is being held. If not, take their name and email address so you can send a reminder.
- When trying on clothes, ask the person who gives you the number whether he/she is registered to vote. Follow the instructions for wait people.
- When you are making a purchase in a store, if the line is not long, ask if the sales clerk is registered to vote.
- Strike up conversations with strangers to see if they’re registered. It may seem daunting, but it’s a skill like anything else and can be easily learned.
- Get a clipboard, attach some registration forms, and head out to a public outdoor event. Walk around and ask people if they’re registered. Street fairs are great for this.
When forms are filled out, you can deliver them to Voter Services. Alternately, contact me, and I’ll come get your forms and turn them in. Which always leads to the following questions:
- Can’t they just fill them out online?
- Can’t I just give them the form and have them send it in?
- Can’t I just mail in the form?
The answer to all these questions is NO.
- When the forms are filled out online, they go to Harrisburg, which forwards them (at some point in time, normally monthly) to the county offices. If there is a mistake on the form (which you won’t know because you haven’t checked it) the form will be lost. Further, there is no tracking, so you won’t know if the person was actually registered.
- Statistically, when you hand out the form, if you’re very, VERY lucky, 1 – 2% will actually be sent in. More commonly, fewer than 1% are ever turned in by the potential registrant.
- When you bring the form to Voter Services, they’ll often be able to tell you how quickly the data will be uploaded. Also, it insures that they know someone is watching.
Also, when you have completed forms, you can take a photo of them, and call the person. “Hi, I’m <your name here>. I registered you 3 weeks ago and I want to be sure you have received your card, and you know where you’ll be voting.” You can ask if they’d like a reminder about Election Day, and if you can email them links for information on the candidates. Further, that data can be input to the databases, which help the candidates know there are new voters.
Circling back to when you meet registered voters, you can ask them if they know when the next election will be held. Most will say “November 2020” because most people don’t vote except in Presidential elections, if they vote at all. Seriously, as a country, we suck at voting, as this article shows. This presents an excellent opportunity to talk about issues of the day, and why YOU are taking the upcoming election so seriously. Elections are won house by house, person by person, block by block, and it’s the personal touch that turns out those voters.
Finally, once you’ve started a conversation, you can check whether the person actually is registered. Sometimes someone is still registered at an old address, or under a previous name. Further, we have seen cases this year wherein people have been purged from the rolls. To check a registration, you can use this link, which you can also put on your cell phone for easy access.
Need help? If you live in Chester County, ICC can provide you with Blank House lists, Voter Registration forms, training and anything else you need. ICC can provide outreach to voters with questions, access to candidate and issue information, and voting reminders. We’ll even do the phone follow-ups. If you live outside of Chester County, we can hook you up with the appropriate people in your county.
Please help! This is our last best chance at Making America America Again. We lost Pennsylvania in 2016 by FIVE votes per precinct – those people you register can make all the difference this time.