Power to the Polls Youth Toolkit

What?

Women’s March Youth Empower is calling for high school and college students to host voter registration drives on their campuses to coincide with the Power To The Polls tour. Power To The Polls is a Women’s March national voter registration initiative that seeks to register, educate, and mobilize one million people ahead of the 2018 midterms, particularly in specific swing states and in communities that face barriers to voting.

Who?

High School and College students eligible to register or pre-register to vote in their state. Find out if you are eligible here.

Where?

In your high school or on your college campus.

Why?

Young adults (18-29) make up 21% of the eligible voting population, yet in the last election, less than half of this demographic voted. Youth are the least likely population to be registered to vote and to exercise their right to vote, yet many policies that are at stake in each election disproportionately affect youth. The job market, college tuition and loans, and health care (particularly reproductive health care) are all issues that directly affect students during school and in the years after graduation.

How?

Find out when the Power To The Polls Tour is coming to your state (details in the toolkit below and updated on the website) and use this toolkit to organize a voter registration drive on your campus within the week leading up to the Power To The Polls event.

Steps to organize an event

  1. Build a coalition:
  2. Spread the word
  3. Tabling + registering students

Building a Coalition

Each individual has the power to make change. We encourage high school and college students to reach out their networks to host events focused on voter education and registration. Here are some groups we suggest reaching out to as partners:

  1. Your network! Your friends, classmates, teammates, etc. Ask them to help you table for an hour or two (or more!)
  2. Chapters of college democrats, republicans or independents
  3. Student government
  4. Sorority and fraternity groups
  5. The school radio and newspaper to help you advertise
  6. Multicultural organizations such as Black Student Association, Asian Student Association, Latino Student Association, etc

LGBTQ+ Center/Club/Alliance Ask these groups to help spread awareness of the voter registration drive through their networks, and co-sponsor the voter registration drive with you and your group.

Spread the Word

  1. Create posters, post on social media and spread the news with word-of-mouth.
  2. Create a facebook event and invite all your classmates! Galvanize as many students as you can to participate with you. Use the hashtag #PowerToThePolls.
  3. Talk to your campus administration about the best place and day(s) to host your voter registration drive.

The Drive: Tabling

  1. Choosing a location to table is especially important as it will impact the foot-traffic and interest you garner from passersby. Choose a central location, perhaps a student center or the main square of campus, and set up a table or two.
  2. Make a poster that advertises that you are registering people to vote. Have several phones, tablets, or laptops available to help people register to vote online. (They can also use their own phones!). If your state does not allow online registration, then have a lot of the paper registration forms printed out (and pens).
  3. Be active! Don’t just sit behind the table, be out in front asking passersby if they are registered to vote.
  4. Keep track of the number of people you register if you can! This will help you gauge your progress on meeting your goal.
  5. Encourage people to text P2P to RTVote (788-683) if they don’t have time to register to vote that second. This will connect them to Rock The Vote and they will be prompted to finish their registration at another time. You can even pass out quarter sheets with that information so students don’t forget!

What to Say

[Introduction] Hi, my name is [name] and I’m out today on behalf of Women’s March making sure all students at [high school/college/university] are registered to vote. Do you know if your voter registration is updated?

  • [If they say “no” or “I’m not sure”]: Great! I can help you register right here on your smartphone in less than 2 minutes! [Register them using their smartphone]
  • [If they say “I’m not sure”]: Have you moved or changed your name lately, or are you interested in changing your party affiliation? If so you’ll need to re-register. [Register them using their smartphone]
  • [If they say “I don’t have the time”]: That’s ok, you can text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send you a link to register later from your smartphone or computer in less than 2 minutes.
  • [If they say “I’m not interested”]: I understand. There are a lot of challenges, but we want to make sure the voices in our community are heard, and we believe that if they hear our vote, they’ll hear our voice. If you change your mind, you can text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send you a link to register later from your smartphone or computer in less than 2 minutes.
  • [If they say “yes”]: Great! Lots of times people don’t realize that if they’ve moved even in the same neighborhood or changed their name, they may need to re-register. Do you know if all of eligible members of your household have updated registration?
    • [If they say “no” or “I’m not sure”]: We have this great text tool that gets people registered online and sends information about upcoming elections. They can simply text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send a link to register from your smartphone or computer.
    • [If they say “yes”]: I’m so glad to hear that! We have this great text tool that gets people registered online and sends information about upcoming elections. If you want to get more friends involved, you can text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send a link to register from your smartphone or computer.
  • [If they say “I’m not able to vote”]: May I ask why not? I am trained in voter registration and may be able to help answer questions.
    • [If they say “I’m not a citizen”]: I understand. You can still make a difference by helping your friends and family register through our text tool. They can simply P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send a link to register from your smartphone or computer.
    • [If they say “I’m not old enough”]: Will you be 18 before the next election? If so you can pre-register to vote. [Check our chart for your state’s laws.]
    • [If they say “I have a felony conviction” or “I’m on parole”]: In many states you can re-register to vote after completing your sentence or parole. I’d love to help you re-register if you’re eligible. [Check our chart for your state’s laws.]
    • [If your state has closed primaries] Did you know that you can only vote in the primary election if you are registered in a party? If you want to change your party affiliation we can
  • [After they register to vote] Thanks for registering to vote! The cool thing about this tool is anyone can use it to get their friends, family and neighbors registered. Can you commit to registering 5 other people this week?
  • [If they say “yes”]: Thank you, if we all do this together we can truly have our voices heard!
  • [If they say “no”]: No problem, thanks for being a part of this. If you ever want to get more friends involved, you can text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send a link to register from your smartphone or computer.

[Closing] Thanks for your time, don’t forget to vote, have a great week/weekend!


How to Register On A Phone

  1. Text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683).
  2. When prompted, enter your email address.
  3. When prompted, enter your zip code.
  4. Follow the link provided to register online.
  5. Select your language and fill out your personal information.
  6. If your state allows online registration, you can choose to finish the process on the state website and we will redirect you. If you prefer to mail in your registration, click “No Thanks, I'll continue with Rock the Vote and Womens March and send in my form later” and fill out the remaining information.
  7. If you live in a closed primary state, make sure to select the party whose primary you’d like to participate in—in many counties and states the primary election virtually decides the final election.
  8. Follow the prompt to print out your registration. Simply print, sign, stamp and mail your registration form to the address we provide. ***Your registration is not processed until you sign and mail it in.***

How to Register On A Computer

  1. Go to ​www.youthempower.com www.womensmarch.com/register and enter your email address and zip code.
  2. Select your language and fill out your personal information.
  3. If your state allows online registration, you can choose to finish the process on the state website and we will redirect you. If you prefer to mail in your registration, click “No Thanks, I'll continue with Rock the Vote and Womens March and send in my form later” and fill out the remaining information.
  4. If you live in a closed primary state, make sure to select the party whose primary you’d like to participate in—in many counties and states the primary election virtually decides the final election.
  5. Follow the prompt to print out your registration. Simply print, sign, stamp and mail your registration form to the address we provide. ***Your registration is not processed until you sign and mail it in.***​

Tips For Best Practice

  1. Be friendly and positive.
  2. Make it personal, connect voting to the issues that they care about.
  3. Tools work when introduced through a personal connection. Instead of just emailing the link to your friends, help them fill it out in person and make sure they know how excited you are to be a part of it.
  4. Focus on updating registration, not only on first time registrants. Many people think they’re registered but don’t realize that their registration needs to be updated.
  5. Use the registrants phone instead of yours so that their sensitive info stays private, and so they have the website to share with others.
  6. Ask them to bookmark the website and encourage them to register friends and family. Let’s make this go viral!
  7. If they say they don’t have time right now, get them to text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683)
  8. It you’re tabling, give away stickers, buttons or pens with the info “text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683)” so the people you meet can carry the message to their communities.

FAQ

How can I check to see if I’m already registered? I’m not sure if I’m registered. Will I get in trouble if I register again? Text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683) and we’ll send a link to check or update your registration status with your state.

Can I register to vote online? Many states allow you to vote online if you have a state ID. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Can I register to vote if I’m not 18? Yes, in most states you can register to vote as long as you’ll be 18 by the election day, although some states have a minimum age requirement to pre-register (ex: 17.5). Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Can I register to vote if I’m not a US Citizen? No, but you can make sure your eligible friends and family are registered, and you can use our online tool to register other people to vote in your community.

Can I register to vote if I don’t have an ID? Yes, some states have ID requirements to vote, but you can still register without an ID. If you do have a state ID it can allow you to register online without mailing in your form. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Can I register to vote if I have a prior felony conviction or am on parole? Yes and maybe. In most states you can register to vote after you’ve finished your sentence or your parole, and in a few remaining states you can request your voting rights be reinstated. You will need to re-register after completing your sentence or parole. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Can I register if I'm mentally disabled? If you have been declared “non-compos mentis” or “mentally incompetent” by a court of law, most states do not allow you to vote. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Can I register to vote if I just moved to the state? State laws vary - some allow you to vote on day 1, some have a minimum requirement - but no state can deny you the right to vote after you’ve been a resident for 30 days. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Do I have to re-register to vote if I moved within the state? Yes, you need to re-register any time you’ve changed your address.

I’m a student, can I register to vote at my school address? Yes, you have the right to vote at your dorm or school address. Make sure to use your home/living address, not a PO Box.

Can I use a PO Box as my address? No, you’ll need to use your permanent home address. If you’re homeless please see below.

Can I register to vote if I’m homeless? Yes, all eligible citizens are able to register and vote. Depending on state laws, you can mark an X on a map to indicate where you usually sleep, or use a shelter or non-profit address on your registration form. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Can I keep my address confidential if I’m a survivor of domestic violence? Yes, in most states. Programs exist in most states to help people affected by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalkings to register while keeping their address confidential. A state list is available here.

Can I register to vote if I’m in the military and living abroad? Yes, you can register at www.overseasvotefoundation.org.

Can I register to vote if I’m living not in the military but living abroad? Yes, you can find help at http://www.fvap.gov or by calling (800) 438-VOTE.

Do I need to re-register to vote if I changed my name? Yes, when your voter information changes, you need to re-register to vote.

Do I need to re-register to change my party affiliation? In states with closed primaries, you must re-register in the correct party to vote in that party’s primary. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

What is the last day to register to vote? Voter registration deadlines vary state to state and may have additional variation based on first time registering, change of party, etc. Check our chart for your state’s laws.

Voter Registrations Information By State

Find your state's information for voter registration deadlines here.

Resources

Keep Resisting. Stay connected with Women’s March Youth Empower. Email [email protected] if you are under 18. For college students, reach out at [email protected]. Read the Women’s March Unity Principles

https://www.rockthevote.org/understanding-voting-rights/