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. 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.
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 kicked off. Go to I Will Vote and check to make sure you have an active registration.
How to help get more people registered
1. Add the I Will Vote link to your phone and share it whenever the opportunity strikes. Write a social media post occasionally to remind people to check on their registration status.
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, 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. Voto Latino employs a number of different strategies to grow and engage the Latino voting community. Sign up to volunteer with them. They also have a tool where you can send voter registration reminders to friends and family.
7. Your local NAACP office likely holds voter registration events. Find your local chapter and ask them about their voter registration efforts.
8. Rock the Vote is focused on building the youth vote. Get their free voter registration toolkit and learn how to hold your own event.
9. 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.
10. Get involved with the League of Women Voters. Your local LWV office very likely holds voter registration events. Call and ask how you can help.
11. 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. Connect with your favorite candidate’s campaign office directly to volunteer.
12. You may find people who haven’t registered to vote because they don’t have the right ID. Here’s how to help them.
13. Thinking more long term, consider lobbying your state representatives to enact Automatic Voter Registration in your state! Currently 20 states plus D.C. already have it (AVR). Every year, additional states introduce AVR bills to their legislatures. If your states doesn’t already have AVR, 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.
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