Voter Registration

  • What is Voter Registration and its purpose?
        1. Voter registration in our country is voluntary. The responsibility to register to vote lies with the individual.  This fact has led to an incredible voter registration inequality gap across our country and Pennsylvania.  This gap has had the greatest effect on youth voters and minority voters.
        2. We can close the gap and empower our communities through voter registration efforts.  Registered voters are more likely to vote.  They are also more likely to be school and community group involved and they bring better representation of the community when empowered to participate in the electoral process.
        3. Voter registration is also a core pillar of our organizing work. It can change the landscape of an upcoming election and help us build our organizations as follow up volunteer recruitment efforts to newly registered voters can bring new members into our groups and help us grow.
      1. Appoint a voter registration captain and campus captain for your team.  These team members will oversee and handle voter registration and campus outreach responsibilities for your team.  Voter registration and effective campus outreach have a number of moving parts and details.  Having a dedicated team member committed to overseeing these responsibilities will be critical to ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks and that we are as effective and efficient as possible in our work.
        1. Voter registration captain – responsible for coordinating voter registration actions for the team.  He/she will make sure that…
          1. team members are well trained on voter registration
          2. determine voter registration events and actions for the team (i.e. we are going to do voter registration at the Media Farmers Market on 7/15)
          3. secure and prepare voter registration materials for the team
          4. ensure that voter registration events are properly staffed with team members and that they start on time
          5. ensure that team members return from voter registration events safely
          6. ensure that completed voter registration forms are documented and submitted to the county board of elections within the designated timeframe.  
        2. Campus captain – the campus captain will be the team’s point of contact for a given campus.  The campus captain is responsible for establishing a presence on campus for the team/our efforts, keeping the team informed of campus event, and organizing events on campus.
      2. Write your team’s voter registration plan.  Using the Voter Registration Planning Guide, start to sketch out your team’s voter registration plan.  These should be the events or actions that your team would like to “adopt” or lead.  This way we can develop a calendar of voter registration events for the county that we can share with our coalition so that they can support with their members.     
  • Determining Locations
          1. Voter registration captains should be working in coordination with the PA Dems and PA Together to determine the most effective locations for voter registration events.  For voter registration designed for specific races, locations are determined by
            1. voter registration opportunity reports which cross reference current voting age population estimates by voting precinct.  
            2. current voting registration statistics by precinct to determine an estimate on the current voting age population that is unregistered.
            3. overlay those totals from above with average party score and liberal score for the precinct
              1. These are determined by a number of factors including past Democratic performance in a particular precinct to come up with an estimate of total unregistered voters who are likely to be Democrats if registered.   
            4. compiling lists of voter registration opportunities that fall within target precincts that contain a high number of unregistered likely Democrats for voter registration efforts within the target districts.  
            5. voter registration opportunities are then divided into 4 tactics based on best practices for meeting likely unregistered voters where they are within those precincts.  Those tactics include door knocking, hot spots, community events, and college campuses.
        1. Door Knocking Voter Registration –  Voter registration canvass opportunities –this is the most effective voter registration tactic available.  There are two groups of canvass opportunities.
          1. Apartment complexes within target precincts – generally good areas to target for voter registration as they have folks who move frequently and need to be reregistered to their current address
          2. Complete precincts – Democratic base precincts and show a high number of unregistered potential Democrats to the point that door to door registration efforts for the entire precinct are feasible   
        2. Hot Spots Voter Registration –  these are high foot traffic areas like shopping centers, supermarkets, and train stations where we have the opportunity to speak to a number of potential unregistered voters.  This would involve walking around with a clipboard or setting up a table if permitted
        3. Community Events Voter Registration – these are events within communities with a high number of likely unregistered Dems (ex. fairs and festivals, farmers markets, community concerts) or events that are likely to draw a large crowd and are nearby those communities (ex. major movie releases where voter registration at a movie theater may prove to be beneficial).  This would involve walking around with a clipboard or setting up a table if permitted.
        4. College Campuses Voter Registration – voter registration on college campuses is different from other locations and involves a separate program.  It involves building relationships and preparations for large pushes in the fall (September) and spring semester (February-March).  Voter registration captains should assign campus outreach captains who may need to consider a training specifically on this program and its related tactics.
  • Voter Registration Resources
      1. How to Set Up a Registration Table
      2. Voter Registration scripts
      3. PA Voter Registration forms
        1. PA Voter Registration Status
      4. Absentee Ballot information
        1. Register to Receive an Absentee Ballot
      5. Voter Registration – Quick Guide FAQs
      6. Voter Registration Training Slideshow
      7. Voter Registration Drive Kit (ElectionTools.org)
      8. Voter Engagement Toolkit (United Way)
      9. Voter Engagement Resource Library (NonProfitVote.org)
      10. Community ToolBox, Section 12: Registering Voters
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