The act of voting is a centerpiece of our American democracy. But before you can vote, you must be registered to vote.
A conservative estimate from the Pew Charitable Trusts indicated that just over 1 in 5 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. (We’ll tackle the issue of registered voters not voting in a future post.)
The way we will win elections is by getting our candidates more votes. So the first place to start is by helping fellow Americans get registered.
But first, make sure YOU are registered to vote. It is a good thing to check on a regular basis as states review and “clean up” voter rolls, which often end up with voters getting kicking off. Go to I Will Vote and check to make sure you have an active registration.
Here are 15 ways you can help get more people registered to vote.
1. Add the I Will Vote link to your phone and share it whenever the opportunity strikes.
2. Check in with your county’s Democratic party organization. Check their website for upcoming events, stop by their office, or call them to find out how you can help their voter registration efforts.
3. If any of your friends/family live overseas or are serving in the military overseas, the U.S. Vote Foundation can help them get registered to vote and has the information you need. Please share their link with them.
4. Swing Left has a terrific guide for groups who want to plan voter registration events. It covers planning, finding a good location, best practices, and more.
5. Are you a student at a university or college? Work with Campus Vote Project to make your campus one that empowers students to register and vote. Sign up to learn more.
6. If you work at a university, they likely have an AAUW (American Association of University Women) branch. They organize voter registration events. Check in with them.
7. Voto Latino employs a number of different strategies to grow and engage the Latinx voting community. Sign up to volunteer with them. They also have a tool where you can send voter registration reminders to friends and family.
8. Your local NAACP office likely holds voter registration events. Find your local chapter and ask them about their voter registration efforts.
9. Rock the Vote is focused on building the youth vote. Get their free voter registration toolkit and learn how to hold your own event.
10. If you’re involved with a nonprofit, look at the upcoming webinars offered by Nonprofit Vote, as they tackle issues like getting communities involved with your nonprofit to be more engaged voters.
11. Get involved with the League of Women Voters. Not only can you sign up to get action alerts regarding helping folks get access to voting, but your local LWV office no doubt holds voter registration events. Help them at their next event.
12. Become a volunteer deputy registrar in your state. Your state provides the training so you are knowledgable about registering people in your state. Google “deputy registrar” and the name of your state.
13. Canvass for your favorite candidate. While canvassing is about talking to already registered voters, opportunities arise such as finding a family member or roommate at that address who isn’t registered, talking to the landscaper in front of an address, etc.
14. You may find people who haven’t registered to vote because they don’t have the right ID. Here’s how to help them.
15. More long term: Nine states (OR, CA, AK, CO, CT, GA, IL, RI, VT, WV) and D.C. already have automatic voter registration. 15 more states have automatic voter registration bills that have been introduced in their legislatures. If you live in one of these states, call your local legislators (find their contact info at Open States) and 1) tell them that you are in favor of automatic voter registration and 2) ask them what the status of the bill is.
In conclusion, every vote for our desired candidate matters. When you vote, that’s one more vote for the candidate. If you register others to vote, you are multiplying your effectiveness and helping to create the coalition of voters we need to send powerful messages to our government.
If we are missing any resources, please let us know in the comments!