Virtual Voter Registration Drives
Registering Voters: What You Need to Know
Our democracy must ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity and the information needed to exercise their right to vote. To that end, AAUW and the AAUW Action Fund work with state leaders, branches, and coalition partners to register voters in communities across the country.
Registering voters is best done through direct, personal, targeted contact. The following ideas are creative ways to reach out to prospective voters in your community:
- Send volunteers with clipboards to places where large groups of people congregate — malls, movie theaters, libraries, neighborhood festivals, rallies, farmers markets, etc.
- Set up a table on the campus of an AAUW college/university partner or another university, college, or community college in your area.
- Hold an issue forum on a topic important to your community and make a voter registration pitch at the end of each event.
Find more tips for getting out the vote in your community in our Get Out the Vote Tool Kit.
AAUW advocates for vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights. Over the past several years, we have seen the rise of voting restrictions in various states, including requirements for photo identification and proof of citizenship and the elimination of early voting. You can help to combat these restrictions by educating voters about the rules in their state and providing them with the knowledge and tools to turn out on Election Day.
Ready to get started? Our how-to guide to hosting a voter registration drive provides detailed instructions for planning and hosting.
This guide provides some easy steps to plan a virtual voter registration campaign. Read on, and remember that the AAUW public policy staff is here to help — consider them your resource and sounding board. If you’re not already in touch with them, please email VoterEd@aauw.org.
- Plan your registration drive.
- Check your state’s rules.
- Check AAUW policies for compliance.
- Plan your digital outreach.
- Execute the campaign and let us know!
Get Started Planning Your Registration Drive
The first step is to set reasonable goals and develop a plan for the voter registration drive. Goals and a plan enable you to work strategically and gauge your progress. When you set your goals, consider the following questions:
- How many people do you want to register?
- Where should you target people to register? Do you want to focus on certain age groups with historically low voter turnout, underrepresented groups, or groups considered high-risk for COVID-19 and concerned about accessing the vote? (Remember, because AAUW is a nonpartisan organization, AAUW states or branches may not target any voter registration efforts at members of a particular political party or at individuals likely to vote for partisan candidates who support AAUW issues.)
- How will this voter registration drive further the goals of your state or branch voter turnout campaign?
Check Your State’s Rules on Voter Registration
Be sure to understand your state’s rules for voter registration before planning an event. Ask the local or state elections office these important questions:
- How long before the election do voters need to be registered to be eligible to vote? (Remember that there are primary and general elections, each with different voter registration deadlines.)
- What is the age requirement for volunteers registering people to vote?
- Do voters need to declare a party affiliation?
- What are the rules for people who have been convicted of a felony?
- How must registration forms be submitted to election officials?
- What is the required length of residency prior to an individual registering to vote?
- Are college students eligible to register to vote in the locality and state where they are enrolled?
- Is there a required training for volunteers to be able to register voters?
Ensure AAUW Compliance
Familiarize yourself with AAUW’s Board of Directors’ policies before beginning a voter registration drive. The policy book includes guidelines that all AAUW states and branches must follow during any election-related events like voter registration drives. Legal restrictions prevent the use of advocacy materials, such as voter guides or issue fact sheets, in conjunction with a voter registration drive.
Plan Your Digital Outreach
Social media has proven to be a great tool for sharing your message with diverse audiences across multiple platforms. With a well-crafted tweet or Facebook post, you can reach far more people in your voter registration drive– if done well! Check out our social media tips for guidance.
Remember to keep it personal — talk to people about why voting is critical to our democracy and how they can make a plan for civic engagement.
Once you have your voter registration event in mind, email VoterEd@aauw.org to let us know about your plans!