Registering others to Vote is an incredibly gratifying experience and makes a tangible contribution to our democracy.
Here are few guidelines to get you started.
Voter Registration Basics
1) Voter Registration Cards
Voter registration cards can be ordered through the Secretary of State or thru the County Registrar’s Office. There is much debate as to which cards to use.
LA County does not offer the absentee option on the card, but provides a form which can be duplicated and added as a package to the voter registration process. Cards can be ordered and picked up within 48 hours from the Registrar’s office.
The State’s form has the absentee option on their card simplifying the process by not requiring additional paperwork, however it can take up to two weeks to receive cards from the state.
Many activists favor the use of the State’s cards for the ease of use, but cards must be ordered well in advance of your event.
2) Pick a Location
Pick a place that has a constant stream of people. Supermarkets such as Trader Joes are a terrific resource. Consider coffee shops, rallies, and fairs. Tables – Tables can be a nice way to encourage passers-by to stop and register, but don’t worry if you haven’t had time to acquire a table for this event. A friendly smile and a stack of voter registration forms are all you need to register voters. Stand outside of a grocery store or walk along Melrose avenue speaking to anyone you can.
3) Who Can Register?
In California, you must be a California resident and US citizen and at least 18 years of age by the time of the next election. Felons who are no longer on parole MAY register to vote. Remember, just because someone is already registered doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t need to fill out a registration card! Every time you move you have to re-register. If someone wants to change their political party, they need to re-register. Voters who change their name need to re-register as well.
4) Filling our Registration Forms
When filling out these registration forms keep in mind the following:Read through your voter registration forms before you begin. For the most part they are straightforward, but you should have at least a passing familiarity with them before handing them out. Forms must be complete. Do not leave any boxes empty unless instructed to do so on the form. Be sure to get the applicant’s phone number on the card. Cards will be reviewed for completion. If there is a problem, the team checking need to able to contact registrants with incomplete forms.
If the applicant has been issued a California driver’s license (even if it is no longer valid) they must give their driver’s license number on the form. Only in the event that the applicant has never been issued a CA driver’s license should you use the applicant’s social security number. If an applicant asks to take the form home, please encourage them to give you the form. Tell them that we will double check to make sure that the information is complete and that we will save them a trip to the post office. Do whatever you can to get the form filled out in front of you since these registrations only count towards our total if we get the forms back. If someone requests a form but does not wish to return it to you for any reason, you must give them a form.
5) Sending the forms back
All new voter registration cards MUST BE MAILED TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE WITHIN 3 BUSINESS DAYS. There are no exceptions. It is advisable for the safety of information of the individual who you have registered that you drop off the completed registration forms at the post office or at a secured mailbox.