Organize a Voter Registration Drive
When should we hold a voter registration drive?
Any time is a good time to hold a voter registration drive! But there are two key times to have in mind:
- Before the primaries — which Democrats and Republicans use to pick the candidates that will face each other in the November 2020 election. Primaries (or caucuses) begin in February and run through the next 4 months or so. (Learn more about how primaries and caucuses work here.) Find out when your state’s primary is here: www.270towin.com/2020-election-calendar. To vote in the primaries, you must be registered to vote before your state’s primary. Check your state’s rules. We compiled New England deadlines here. In Massachusetts, for example, the primary will be held on March 3rd, and you must be registered to vote by February 12, 2020.
- Before the general election — which will determine the next president, as well as others running for state and national offices, plus ballot questions. The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Make sure to check your state’s rules to find out what the deadline is to register to vote for the general election. In Massachusetts, for example, you must be registered to vote by October 16, 2020.
(Note: NELRC states can find information about primaries and voter registration here.)
How do we do it?
Look to these websites for useful information about how to register to vote, as well as materials and training tips for holding your voter registration drive.
- Find out how to register, watch a video, learn which languages the registration form is available in, download voter guides, and more: www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.
- Get Rock the Vote’s free Voter Registration Toolkit, which includes a How-To Guide that helps you plan your voter registration drive from start to finish; Rock the Vote logos (and a banner design!) that you can incorporate into your signage, print onto stickers, use on your event materials, and more; Rock the Vote’s Social Media Guide, which provides our content and terminology guidelines, our requirements for nonpartisan social media posts, and helpful tips to promote your event.
- Here’s another toolkit: electiontools.org/tool/voter-registration-drive-kit
What if we don’t have the capacity to run this ourselves?
Try inviting a local community organization — such as the League of Women Voters — to come to your program to conduct the voter registration drive for you.
What if we want to turn it into a teaching opportunity?
Great idea! Use the toolkits as authentic reading materials. Practicing writing posts and tweets and emails to publicize your event. Make a poster explaining the basics of voter registration. Role-play staffing the table. Develop experts in your class on voter registration rules. Develop leadership, build community, and practice speaking! If it goes well in your program, contact your local library, grocery store, or community center, and hold one there as well!
Remember to collect your data (data collection form forthcoming) and report it back to NELRC!