How to Run a Voter laws relating to voter registration. Be certain that
each person knows the eligibility requirements for
Registration Drive in registration and how important it is for the voter to fill
in correct and complete information on the card.
In order to maintain the freedoms that we as 1. Who can register to vote?
Americans hold dear, it is important to encourage In most states, the basic requirements for registering
active citizen participation in the electoral process. to vote are:
The most important, most basic act that a citizen can • You must be a U.S. Citizen
perform is voting. • A resident of the state you are registering in
• At least 18 years of age on Election Day
In anticipation of conducting a registration drive • Not in prison or on parole for the conviction of
in your state, there are some basic things that all a felony
groups should know regarding laws, the registration • And not judged by a court to be mentally
application, and how to gain approval for your drive. incompetent.
After consulting with the elections office and getting 2. Who can Register Voters?
all the appropriate resources, it’s important to gather Anyone can assist another person with registering to
some data and targeting your voting population. Large vote. You do not even have to be a resident of
national groups like ACORN combine Census data
the area in order to register voters. However, some
to target certain segments of the population, but for
states require that if you help someone fill out the
small drives, a simple voter list may also be helpful.
registration card, you do have to fill in and sign
Questions to consider include:
the form in the spaces provided for that purpose.
Election laws can give county elections officials the
• How many persons in your target jurisdiction are authority to decline to give voter registration cards
18 years old or older? to anyone who has been convicted of violating voter
• How many people voted in the last election? registration laws within the last five years.
• What was the party ratio?
• Of the total voting age population, how many 3. Where to get the Cards
people are actually registered to vote? To get county voter registration cards, contact the
• How many are not registered? Why, in your best appropriate county elections official or the board of
judgment, are those people not registered to vote? elections. The national voter registration form is also
• Who and where are they? Who do you want to available online for U.S. citizens who live, or have an
reach in your registration drive? address, within the United States. It is best to use the
forms provided by the state or county though.
Know the Law 4. Returning Completed Cards.
It is critical that everyone working for you, or under It is extremely important to return all cards in a
your direction, understands the procedures and
timely fashion and some states even impose limits on conversation as they pass and ask them if they are
how long a person registering voters can hold a card registered to vote.
before returning it. Be sure to check the laws in your • Be pro-active
state. Completed cards may be returned either by
mail or in person. Points to Remember
• To assure that the person completes the form have
Be Prepared them fill it out immediately at your table.
• Forms are sent to the Board of Elections
• Use the voter registration sign-up sheets to get
• Place an announcement in your local paper their names, addresses and phone numbers so
• Drop off flyers at churches, gun stores and other we can keep them informed on issues as well as
high-traffic venues. upcoming elections.
• Utilize social networking tools like Twitter, • Make sure to be polite to the Board of Elections
Facebook and Four Square. staff and to always express your appreciation
• Partner with other citizen groups to spread the for their help and the importance of the duty
word of voting. This helps you to build a trusting
• Set up interviews with local radio stations or get relationship with the BOE for when you plan your
them to run a PSA regarding your event. next drive.
• Voter registration form
• A clip board or legal pad so you can copy down the Regarding Voter
names and contact information of the people who
• Pens Citizenship
• Folding table The most basic requirement for registering to vote is
• Flyers about your group United States citizenship. A person who registers to
• Information regarding issues (Heartland Institute vote is affirming that they are indeed a citizen eligible
provides free booklets on matters like Health Care to vote. Once the voter certifies under penalty of
and School Choice) perjury that the information on the form is accurate
they can be charged with perjury for false statements.
How to set up your table Perjury is punishable by imprisonment in state prison
• After obtaining permission from the site owner for up to four years.
make sure to place it in the path of heavy traffic.
• Hang posters behind your table so that people will College Students
know why you are there. A college student may register to vote either at his
• Spread the registration forms and other materials or her college address, or at his or her hometown or
on your table. parent’s address, whichever is the address he or she
• Stand in front of the table and engage people in considers primary, and to which he or she intends to
return. Students should be sure to fill out the prior
registration part of the form to cancel their previous to register and vote is restored. For more information
registration no longer in effect when re-registering at on the rights of people who have been incarcerated,
the college address. please see your Secretary of State’s website.
How many times does a person have to register? Partisan Political Activities
If the voter remains an active voter and responds to Any PERSON (not a tax exempt organization) may
any confirmation mailings from the elections official, conduct partisan political activity while registering
the registration remains in effect. However, a voter voter. The law does not restrict your free speech rights
must reregister if he or she moves. It is important to when conducting a voter registration drive. Common
notify the county elections official in writing of any courtesy and common sense, however, should be
change of address or name change so that the voter practiced. If you are representing an organization, keep
will remain properly registered. in mind non-profit restrictions.
If a voter does not vote in two federal general elections Tampering with Voter Registration Forms
in a row, the county elections official will attempt to The distributor or circulator may not fill in the
contact the voter. If the voter fails to respond to the blanks on the voter registration card unless the person
confirmation notice, the county elections official may registering asks for that help. The registrant, or a
place that voter’s record in an inactive file and he or person who the registrant asks to assist him or her,
she will not be mailed any official election material. must complete the registration card in its entirety and
exactly as the registrant requests; the person helping fill
Moving after registration has closed out the card must also fill in all required information
The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) permits in the space provided for the purpose. Cards with any
a voter who moves within the same county and the pre-filled “blanks” may not be used.
same congressional district, and who does NOT re-
register to vote prior to the close of registration, to cast Offering Incentives for Registering Voters
a ballot in federal elections. Federal Law: 42 U.S.C. §1973i(c) makes it unlawful
in an election in which a federal candidate is on the
Age ballot knowingly and willfully pay, offer to pay, or
Anyone 18 years of age or older at the time of an accept payment for registering to vote or for voting.
election may register and vote. Persons who are 17, but Violations are punishable by imprisonment for up
will become 18 on or before the next election date, are to five years. Any type of incentive is considered
also eligible to register to vote while they are still 17 “payment,” even things as seemingly innocent as
years old. cookies or admission to an entertainment event.
Felons, In Prison or on Parole Voter ID
An individual who is convicted of a felony loses the Since 2006, federal and state laws have required that
right to register and vote during the term of the prison every person must provide identification when they
sentence and the parole period. In some states, once register to vote.
the parole period is completed, the person’s eligibility
Military and Overseas Citizens-Registering returned by e-mail will not be accepted. Carefully
and Voting Absentee follow the instructions sent to you with your absentee
Members of the United States uniformed services ballot to ensure that it is counted. You must be sure to
on active duty and the Merchant Marine, their not only sign, but DATE the absentee ballot envelope
spouses and dependents, and United States citizens to ensure that your ballot is counted.
residing outside of the United States may apply for
voter registration or request an absentee ballot with a If an overseas voter’s request for an absentee ballot
Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which may be includes an e-mail address, the supervisor of elections
obtained from a Voting Assistance Officer or through will inform the voter of the names of candidates who
the Internet at www.fvap.gov. will be on the ballots via e-mail. The supervisor of
elections will e-mail to the voter the list of candidates
The Federal Post Card Application request for an for the primary and general election not later than 30
absentee ballot will be effective for all elections days before each election.
through the next two regularly scheduled general
elections. If the FPCA is not available, phone or send a Additional information for military and overseas voters
written request by mail, fax, or e-mail to the supervisor is available from:
of elections and a voter registration application or Director, Federal Voting Assistance Program
absentee ballot will be sent to you. Office of the Secretary of Defense Washington
If you are overseas, you may have your absentee ballot 1155 Defense Pentagon
either faxed or e-mailed to you, in lieu of receiving it Washington, D.C. 20301-1155
by regular mail. Once your absentee ballot is voted,
you may either return it by fax or you may mail it
to the supervisor of elections so that it is received no
later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Filled out ballots Toll-free: 800-438-8683 6
A Primer for the 2010 Elections
With progressive organizations hoping to gain The voter registration table is the first line of defense in
momentum during the 2010 elections, it’s critical our own communities. It is a powerful, portable tool
that conservatives and tea party organizations learns of effective grassroots activism. Well informed citizens
how to recognize voter fraud. Often, voter fraud is have the potential to cultivate commitment to society
confused with voter registration fraud and allegations and American values by bringing together individuals
tend to swell as tensions increase. Understanding voter together who care, who act, who have a voice.
fraud, and the ways some progressive organization Therefore, it is important to not only register voters,
perceive it, is key to combating real fraud. This course but to make sure that the process is not corrupted.
will give you the rundown of examples of voter fraud,
election violations as well as ideas to create our own Voter registration fraud is “the act of registering to
comprehensive voter registration programs. Suggested vote, or registering someone else to vote, when fraud
Readings is involved. Voter registration fraud is considered to
be a type of vote fraud.”2
What is Voter Fraud? Different ways to commit fraud in the voter
registration process include:
Vote Fraud vs. Voter Registration Fraud
Vote fraud is “illegal interference with the process • Filling out and submitting a voter registration card
of an election. Acts of fraud are used to change the for a fictional (made-up) person. The made-up
outcome of an election to be other than it would name on the card can be recognizable (“Mickey
have been without the fraud.” 1 Mouse”) or just a random made-up name, like
The most common types of vote fraud are: • Filling out a voter registration card with the name
• Voter registration fraud of a real person, but without that person’s consent,
• Dead people voting and forging his or her signature on the card.
• Felon vote fraud
• Absentee ballot vote fraud
• Voter suppression
The Partisan Debate
• Voter caging and purging Presently there is a sharp divide between those who
• Electronic voting fraud claim that vote fraud does not exist and those who
• Voter impersonation point to a number of incidents around the country.
The Brennan Center for Justice3, a left-of-center • Become a poll worker
organization, has filed several suits and released • Always be prepared (cameras etc.)
scores of press releases insisting that vote fraud does • Report, report, report!
not exist: -Voter fraud hotlines
- Social Networks
“...Allegations of widespread voter fraud, however,
often prove greatly exaggerated. It is easy to grab
headlines with a lurid claim (“Tens of thousands may Election Protection Laws
be voting illegally!”); the follow-up - when any exists
- is not usually deemed newsworthy. Yet on closer
and Universal Voter
examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount Registration Fraud
to a great deal of smoke without much fire. The
allegations simply do not pan out.” Help America Vote Act of 20025
• Provisions of HAVA
On the other hand, Republican John McCain4 also Equipment: HAVA mandates that all states and
raised legitimate questions in 2008 regarding voter localities upgrade many aspects of their election
fraud: procedures, including their voting machines,
registration processes and poll worker training. The
“You’ve seen the allegations, the multiple registrations specifics of implementation have been left up to each
under the same name, the more registered voters state, which allows for varying interpretations of the
than the population. These are serious allegations, Federal law.
my friends, and they must be investigated, and they
must be investigated immediately and they must be Provisional voting: HAVA requires voters identified as
stopped before November the fourth, so Americans ineligible (such as voters not found on the registered
will not -- will not -- be deprived of a fair process in list), but who believe themselves to be eligible, to be
this election.” able to cast a provisional ballot
As the debate rages on, it is important to remember • What is Provisional Voting?
that the best way to combat fraud and allegations A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when
of fraud is to ensure that groups registering voters there is some question in regards to a given voter’s
in your community are following guidelines and eligibility. A provisional ballot would be cast when:
turning in cards on time. The
voter refuses to show a photo ID (in
states that require one)
Identifying and The
voter’s name does not appear on the
electoral roll for the given precinct.
Documenting Fraud The
voter’s registration contains inaccurate
• Get involved before election day or out-dated information such as the wrong
• Contact your Board of Elections officials address or a misspelled name.
- know the laws The
voter’s ballot has already been recorded
Whether a provisional ballot is counted is will tell the states: ‘take everyone on every list of
contingent upon the verification of that voter’s welfare that you have, take everyone on every list of
eligibility. Many voters do not realize that the unemployed you have, take everyone on every list of
provisional ballot is not counted until 7-10 days property owners, take everyone on every list of driver’s
after election so their vote does not affect the license holders and register them to vote regardless of
calling of the states for different candidates. whether they want to be ...”
National Voter Registration Act ACORN
Congress enacted the National Voter Registration ACORN and Project Vote8 claim to have:
Act of 1993 (also known as the “NVRA” and the
“Motor Voter Act”), to enhance voting opportunities
for every American. The Act has made it easier for
all Americans to register to vote and to maintain
• Provisions of the NVRA
Section 5 of the Act requires states to provide
individuals with the opportunity to register
to vote at the same time that they apply for a
driver’s license or seek to renew a driver’s license,
and requires the State to forward the completed
application to the appropriate state of local election
official. Section 7 of the Act requires states to
offer voter registration opportunities at all offices
that provide public assistance and all offices that
provide state-funded programs primarily engaged
in providing services to persons with disabilities.
Each applicant for any of these services, renewal
of services, or address changes must be provided
with a voter registration form of a declination • Registered over 4.6 million voters since its inception in
form as well as assistance in completing the form 1982.
and forwarding the completed application to the • Registered an unmatched 1.67 million voters since
appropriate state or local election official. (Section 6) 2003: 1.13 million in 2003-04 and 547,539 in
Universal Voter Registration7 • Registered more voters in 2006 than any other
“… Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank will propose single organization in any mid-term election in
universal voter registration. What is universal voter United States history.
registration? It means all of the state laws on elections
• Been the single largest program registering
will be overridden by a federal mandate. The feds
Ohio — The New York Post reported that a Cleveland
man said he was given cash and cigarettes by aggressive
ACORN activists in exchange for registering an
astonishing 72 times. The complaints have sparked an
investigation by election officials into the organization,
whose political wing has supported Barack Obama.
Witnesses have already been subpoenaed to testify
against the organization.
Nevada — Authorities raided the headquarters of the
Association of Community Organizations for Reform
Now on Tuesday October 7, 2008, after a month-
long investigation. The fraudulent voter registrations
included the Dallas Cowboys starting line-up.
Young people aged 18-29 with exactly 50% of
Indiana — More than 2,000 voter registration forms
our registrants falling into that demographic.
filed in northern Indiana’s Lake County filled out
by ACORN employees turned out to be bogus.
However, this massive voter registration drive was not Officials also stopped processing a stack of about
without consequences: 5,000 applications delivered just before the October
6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out
In 2007, in Kansas City, Missouri, four ACORN to be phony.
employees were indicted for fraud. Later, eight
ACORN employees in St. Louis city and county The list goes on, and on. See the Complete Guide to
pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting ACORN Voter Fraud9
bogus voter registrations. And, that was just Missouri.
Absentee Ballots and
This year there have been several accusations of fraud
against ACORN. Over a dozen states are investigating other types of Fraud
the organization already. Here is a complete list of the
ongoing investigations: The following is a composite of several
summaries on the reasons that Vote-By Mail
North Carolina — StateBoard of Elections officials systems are problematic:10
have found at least 100 voter registration forms 1. Absentee ballots are not “secret ballots.”
with the same names over and over again. The forms 2. Absentee ballots are still counted by the same
were turned in by ACORN. Officials sent about 30 privately owned voting machines that have been
in the news, including Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia
applications to the state Board of Elections for possible
and all the rest.
fraud investigation. 3. In many cases, like King County, WA, the
Post Office no longer controls the incoming
mail, instead a private company sorts incoming
absentee ballots into precincts before giving
Become A Precinct Chair
them back to county for counting. This breaks
down any chain of custody rules that may have
or Captain 11
been in place, and privatizes another link in the What is a Precinct Captain? It is the person who is
chain. the link between the political party, and the voters
4. From beginning to end, the whole system of in a specific precinct. A precinct captain must meet
Absentee Ballots is insecure, as ballots are no certain requirements, which vary by state and party,
longer strictly controlled by the County and
citizen poll workers in the individual Precincts. and will help the party maintain records and get out
5. The cost of running an all mail voting system the vote at election time. Get to know people through
can actually be greater than a poll based voting neighborhood, civic, church or other community
system. activities. As the person who helps organize and elect
6. The Signature Verification Process is error prone people, the Precinct Chair can go to the County
and routinely disenfranchises thousands of Commissioner or legislator to help a citizen or
voters when it is used. Ballots rejected for having community group to secure appropriate assistance with
invalid signatures are treated as “Guilty before a particular problem or concern.
7. Voter Suppression, Vote Buying, Vote Stuffing
become far easier in this system. The first step is to learn about your precinct. You can
8. Accidental double voting can and does happen. obtain a precinct map from your County Clerk or
elections office. Using your precinct map, drive or
walk around your precinct and learn its geographical
The 2010 Elections: How boundaries, the characteristics of the neighborhoods,
to Get Involved places to have meetings, distribute literature, register
voters, etc. Then, contact the party that you want to
Know where the Progressive organizations are represent in your precinct, and find out what you need
registering voters. Possible sites include: to do in order to apply or be elected for the position.
• events, concerts, festivals
• grocery stores Then, canvass and organize your precinct. This is the
• bus stops basic and most important job of the Precinct Chair,
• utility bill pay centers and it is a job that is never finished. Voters move, die,
• WIC, welfare, Section 8 offices, 1st and 15th of
month or become disillusioned; volunteers get burnt-out or
• Emissions and car inspection lines have other obligations. Keep track of who has moved
• Public libraries out and who has moved in, so that you will be able to
• Movie theaters recognize any shady voting patterns going on. Finally,
• College campuses encourage your neighbors to vote.
• High school football games/assembly
• Citizenship and naturalization ceremonies Additional Resources
• The Post Office 1. Minnite, Lorraine, and Project Vote. The Politics of
• Day labor sites Voter Fraud http://bit.ly/dlNz9D
• Big box stores like Wal-Mart
2. Fund, John. How the Obama Administration Threatens Poll Workers for Democracy
to Undermine Our Elections. 2009. (Encounter http://act.credoaction.com/pollworkers/index.html
How To Vote & Register Anywhere In The U.S. The Politics of Voter Fraud
http://www.866ourvote.org/ Project Vote Smart
Investigator’s Guide to Voter Fraud
http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/ Vote Poke - Allows people to instantly find out
investigators_guide_to_voter_fraud/ whether or not they’re registered to vote
Election Assistance Commission
1. BallotPedia http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Vote_fraud 6. NVRA: Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Home Page http://
2. BallotPedia http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Voter_ bit.ly/dlwYnZ
registration_fraud 7. American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/what_the_
3. Brennan Center for Justice http://www.brennancenter.org/content/ dems_know_universal_v.html
resource/truthaboutvoterfraud/ 8. Project Vote www.projectvote.org
4. Republicans raise red flag over voter fraud - Boston.com http://bit. 9. The Complete Guide to ACORN Voter Fraud http://pajamasmedia.com/
5. http://www.fec.gov/hava/hava.htm 10. http://novbm.wordpress.com/why-not-vbm/