Suggested Steps for Affiliates to Build Political Power with Voter Country
Sign up as a Voter Country Affiliate. Go to www.VoterCountry.com and sign up under the Become an Affiliate button. Click on the link in the first e-mail you receive to confirm your registration as an Affiliate. Once approved, you will receive a welcome e-mail with instructions on installing both the Voter Registration and Citizen’s Pledge tools on your website.
Put the Voter Registration and Citizen’s Pledge Web Tools on your Website Homepage. Follow the instructions in your welcome e-mail and on the Become an Affiliate page of www.VoterCountry.com to put the FREE tools and template web buttons in a prominent location on the homepage of your organization’s web site. When your members refer friends to participate in Voter Registration or in the Citizen’s Pledge through Voter Country, the friends will be referred to the tool on your organization’s web site (the URL provided by you when signing up as an Affiliate), so making the tools prominent is important.
Launch or Re-launch your Voter Outreach Campaign with your New Web Tools. Integrate the Voter Registration and Citizen’s Pledge tools into your existing voter outreach efforts and start promoting the new tools to your members. Introduce the tools (with the link to your website) in emails, newsletters and blogs, and at meetings to your membership. Also promote these tools on your Facebook page and through all social media to make members aware and to make it easy to find your Voter Registration and Citizen’s Pledge web tools. Make voter outreach and registration a 12-month a year activity that is part of every meeting and every newsletter as a core activity to build your political power.
Ask All Members to Openly Commit to Fulfill the Citizen’s Pledge. Use the Citizen’s Pledge as the starting point for conveying each member’s duty to get engaged directly in the electoral process. At a meeting, have each member openly commit to achieving his or her individual goal of having 10 or more people sign the Citizen’s Pledge or Register to Vote, and to personally see all of them to the polls. Strive to reach 100% participation of your members in signing and fulfilling the Citizen’s Pledge.
Track your Organization’s Progress with Voter Country’s Reporting. Your organization will receive periodic affiliate reporting by e-mail on its success with both the Citizen’s Pledge and Voter Registration web tools on your website.
Educate and Motivate your Members. Educate your members about the key issues in the upcoming election and about the voting records of the candidates. Use a key issue or a ballot measure in the upcoming election to generate energy to drive electoral participation and fulfillment of each member’s Citizen’s Pledge.
Have Members Keep a List of every Pledger and Registrant for Get Out The Vote. Having the recruited Citizen’s Pledge signers and Voter Registrants actually cast their ballot is the ultimate goal that must be front of mind. Each member should keep a list of their recruits with contact information shown below and should have a plan to assist each voter to cast his or her ballot on or before Election Day. Some may require a simple reminder call, while others may need a ride to the polls, help with early voting or vote by mail before the election, or other assistance on Election Day.
Click here for a Simple Document that you can use to record the contact information for each of your Citizen’s Pledge recruits and the actions needed to assist each of them to vote. Or just make your own list with the following information:
Name, Address, Phone Number/E-mail, Registered to Vote (Y/N), Final Contact Made (Y/N), Notes to Ensure Vote
Hold a Citizen’s Pledge and Voter Registration Contest. Bring out the best of your members with a fun competition with prizes for the member who gets the most people to sign the Citizen’s Pledge, and the member who registers the most voters. (Note that voter registrations through the web tool are not complete until the registrant prints the registration form, fills in the ID number, signs, stamps, and mails the form. Also, voter registrations on paper forms will need to be counted separately.) Publicize the standings regularly, recognize those who are leading, and leave plenty of time for members to get in the game and succeed.
Have Members Provide their Best Practices to Everyone. The best ideas to help fulfill the Citizen’s Pledges will come from your own members. At meetings, in newsletters, and in emails or bulletins have those members who are successful in fulfilling their Citizen’s Pledges and in registering new voters share their best practices.
Organize Voter Registration Activities for your Members. Help your members fulfill their pledges by using the connections of your membership to arrange voter registration activities to attract new voters and displaced voters. Remember that any voters who change their address or that move will need to re-register with the new information.
If using paper registration forms for an on-site event, remember to collect emails and cell phone numbers so that you can follow-up with voter education and Get Out The Vote reminders. Also, local paper registration forms can be collected and mailed in bulk to your Secretary of State by your organization to ensure proper registration.
Work with young people to find the best places in your area with lots of young people such as in community fairs or festivals, parks, open air markets, concerts, churches, synagogues, or at other community events that attract a crowd.
Your local colleges have lots of young people who may not be registered. Try to find a connection to the college through a current student or faculty member, or find a student organization to help out. Using student volunteers can assist in making the registration process productive. Make a presentation at a student group meeting, hang out in high traffic areas, or hold an event on campus and attract students who you can register.
The elderly population is likely to need help in getting registered or re-registered to vote. In addition to having all members with parents or relatives in assisted or elder living facilities make efforts to register voters, find the best opportunities for a larger registration drive. People in these facilities may not have re-registered since moving to the facility and can use help getting registered and actually casting their vote.
Use Early Voting to Increase Voter Participation. Many states have liberal early voting rules that can help ensure that your recruits vote even if they are going to be away or cannot travel on Election Day. Appoint someone to learn the rules in your state and help your Citizen’s Pledge recruits find their early voting locations or use an absentee or mail-in ballot. More information can be found on the Secretary of State’s Elections website for your state.
Plan Get Out The Vote Activities to Assist your Members. Each Citizen’s Pledge signer commits to individual Get Out The Vote actions for each recruit. Organize additional activities such as phone banks or walking neighborhoods, make announcements, provide suggestions, and send reminders to assist and supplement each member’s individual Get Out The Vote effort.
Personal contact is critical. Personal contact from someone they know is a powerful way to encourage people to vote. Use individual phone calls and door knocks, not emails or mass communications. Supplement your personal contact with your social media capabilities such as Facebook and Twitter.
Convey the importance of their vote. In addition to providing each person with the date, times, and location to vote, convey the importance of each person’s vote for the issues at stake in the election. Be sure to confirm that there are no obstacles to casting his or her vote, and offer to assist as needed.
Timing is key. Contact those people voting early as needed to complete their early voting. For those voting on Election Day, the week before the election is usually most effective and the closer to Election Day the better.
Take Full Advantage of the Primary Election. With such low voter turn-out in primary elections, your organization, coordinated with other like-minded organizations can have a major impact in primary elections. Direct your organization to choose the best candidate in each primary, get voters declared for a political party, and get out the vote.
Make Election Day Special. Election Day is when all of your organization’s efforts pay off. Build respect for this day by encouraging members to devote the day to their final get out the vote activities or to your organization’s Election Day activities. Also, encourage members to sign up as poll workers or otherwise help monitor the election. Celebrate our republican form of government, your efforts for our country, and your victories in the evening when the polls close.