Resources for a Successful Voter Registration Campaign

Posted: August 16, 2016
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A volunteer at Westside Family Health Center does voter registration during National Health Center Week 2016.
A volunteer at Westside Family Health Center does voter registration during National Health Center Week 2016.

In Los Angeles County, community health centers are in a unique position to increase voter registration and get out the vote because of the their deep ties to the community.

There are many things to consider when planning a voter registration and voter engagement campaign. Since community health centers are 501(c)3s and health care providers, there are certain legal requirements they must adhere to comply with their tax exempt status and to be considerate to their patients privacy.

Below is a list of resources to help your community health center plan a successful voter registration campaign.

Remember, the all California voter registration deadlines is 15 days before election day, for the November 8, 2016, general election that will be October 24, 2016.

Voter Registration Checklist

Ο Assign Voter Registration Coordinator

  • Assign a staff person to oversee voter registration and provide training to enrollment staff and manage the collection and return of voter registration forms.
  • Find a staff person motivated to promote voter registration and familiar with your state’s voter registration process.

Ο Connect Voter Registration to Your Health Center’s Mission

  • Communicate to all health center staff the reasons for and value in offering voter registration at the center.

Ο Install Online Voter Registration Tool

  • Install the link to the Community Health Vote online voter registration tool on the desktop of computers used in enrollment.
  • Obtain paper voter registration forms to have on hand as a backup.

Ο Provide Training for Enrollment Staff

  • Train the enrollment team in filling out the voter registration form and its importance as a service of the health center.
  • Emphasize in the training messages and methods through which staff can best succeed in getting patients to register.
  • Practice using sample scripts or role plays.

Ο Have a Place to Store Completed Forms

  • Have a safe place to store completed forms before they’re returned like a desk drawer or file cabinet in a private office.

Ο Establish a System to Return Forms

  • Follow your states procedure for returning forms to your local election office or state elections office on a timely basis.
  • Use advice from a partner or local election office to establish the best procedure.

Ο Connect to Your Local Election Office

  • Get to know your local election board for assistance with questions about returning the form or the election process.

Ο Have a Voter Registration Partner

  • Have someone at your state primary care association or another non-partisan organization to check in with, ask questions or get help.

Ο Post Register to Vote Signs

  • Display a “Register to Vote Poster” poster or sign in the area used for enrollment.

Ο Maintain a Folder of Key Materials

(From Community Health Vote)

When to Plan and When to Act

Voter Registration Planning Calendar 2016
Voter Registration Planning Calendar 2016 [via Nonprofit Vote]

Toolkits

I work at a nonprofit and I voteCommunity Health Vote Health Center Toolkit [pdf]

  • HIPPA and Civic Engagement
  • Making the Ask
  • Sample Script
  • Checklist of Recommended Practices
  • Benefits of Voting
  • Making Voter Engagement Visible
  • Talking About Voter Engagement at Health Centers
  • Individual Voter Guidelines
  • Information for Voters with Special Circumstances
  • Legal Questions and Answers on Voter Engagement
  • Making Your Health Center a Polling Place
  • What Health Center Staff Can Do
  • Why Engaging Voters at Health Centers is Important
  • Voter Registration in the Waiting Room

HIPPA and Civic Engagement at Health Centers [pdf]

  • What does the Privacy Rule protect?
  • What are the HIPAA issues when doing voter registration?
  • How does HIPAA affect collecting advocacy or pledge to vote cards?

United Way Voter Engagement Toolkit [pdf]

  • Staying Nonpartisan
  • Nonprofits and Voter Registration
  • Voter Education
  • Connecting with Candidates Running for Office
  • Nonprofits and Ballot Measures
  • What Staff Can Do
  • Helping People Vote