VOTER PARTICIPATION TOOLKIT
If America is to realize its promise, it is our collective responsibility to encourage civic participation, and it is imperative that every citizen who is eligible to vote has the tools they need to participate fully in the democratic process at the local, state, and national levels.
Voter Education is the process of educating voters about the election process. This includes information about issues affecting the community in addition to important information about voting process itself. Voter Education tactics include: paid media, press releases about the importance of voting, candidate forums, issue flyers distribution, community public service announcements, voting machine trainings, issues identification during canvasses and phone banks, etc.
Voter education is often combined with other aspects of your voter outreach program. For example, voter education occurs during voter registration drives and generally focuses on educating voters about where to register, voter registration requirements, and the importance of registering to vote before the general election deadline.
Get Out the Vote (GOTV)
GOTV is the process of turning community members out to vote before and on Election Day. GOTV is a key component of any voter outreach program. Your GOTV outreach should include a strategy to directly contacting targeted voters and encourage them to vote. These tactics include but are not limited to: door to door canvasses, phone banks, email blasts, ride to the polls program, text message programs, earned media events, early vote programs, and absentee ballot programs. All of the tactics are designed to meet one objective: increase voter contact in your targeted community.
Voter Registration is the process of registering new voters and re-registering voters who have participated previously. Voter registration drives are generally targeted in locations where there is a high density of people, communities with a high numbers of people who are targeted as unregistered, and where people are highly transient (voters that move a lot)—i.e. conducting a voter registration drive in low-income communities, at subway stations, malls, supermarkets, in a new housing community, etc.
During the voter registration period your main focus should be on identifying and registering voters.
Voter registration tactics include:
- Site based voter registration (voter registration in public areas).
- Guide to Canvassing (going door to door)
- Mail programs:
- Mailing voter registration forms to people who are likely to return them.
- Promoting use of the National Mail Voter Registration Form to register U.S. citizens to vote, to update registration information due to a change of name, make a change of address or to register with a political party.
You should have GOTV staffers and volunteers in place to contact voters through phone banks, and door knocking. If you were able to coordinate rides to the polls that’s even better. You should begin making phone calls and visits to remind voters to vote before lunchtime, and should continue making calls right up until the polls close.
Get out the vote campaigns are an essential component of victory for a democratic society. By identifying registered voters, reminding them to go vote, making it easy for them to go to the polls and keeping track of who has gone to vote, you will realize a successful Election Day effort.