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2010 Voter Rights/Registration Packet

Questions Frequently Asked by Organizations About Conducting Voter Registration

Can my 501(c)(3) organization work in conjunction with other groups that conduct voter registration, education, and “Get Out the Vote” programs?

Yes, so long as the effort is non-partisan. Participating organizations and individuals cannot make any statements in support of or in opposition to any particular candidate or party, nor carry on any other activity designed to reflect a preference or recommendation for any political candidate or party.
How much time after the drive do I have to send in the completed forms?

Usually, states require the completed forms to be sent in no later than a few days after completion of the forms.

May I send photocopies of voter registration forms to the elections office?

No.  For the purposes of a voter registration drive, the actual form received from the elections office must be filled out and mailed.  However, an individual may print a voter registration form off the Internet and mail it to the county election office. 

May I refuse to give any eligible voter a registration form?

No. You must give a registration form to any person eligible to vote.

May I attach any flyers or other information to the registration forms?

No.  You may not attach anything to the voter registration forms when you are handing them out.

Can vehicles owned by nonprofit organizations be used to transport voters to the polls? Can drivers employed by the organization transport voters to the polls?

Yes, to both questions. You can even affix non-partisan messages to vehicles encouraging voters to go to the polls. However, make certain that the vehicles and the drivers do not have any partisan literature, buttons, posters, flyers, bumper stickers or other political propaganda endorsing a particular candidate or party.

Can a staff person registering voters at a 501 (c) (3) agency wear a button or put a bumper sticker on his/her car that has the name of a favored candidate?

No, not while registering voters.

Can rewards like balloons or pens be given out after a person registers?

Many states have laws against such “rewards.”  Check with the office of the Secretary of State in your state or county office.

Can you give me some examples of what I am allowed to say while offering information to voters?

You can say:

  • “Public policy is decided at the polls. Take a position on health care, nutrition, and other issues affecting our families. Register to vote here today.”
  • “You can have an impact on the decisions affecting your life. Register to vote now.”

  • “Budget cuts are reducing services provided by this agency and many others.  If you care about housing and day care, register to vote today.”

But, you cannot say:

  • “Support family values. Joe Smith in 2010. Register now,”
  • “Stop the reactionary Congress. Elect John Arnold. Register here.”
  • “Budget cuts are reducing services provided by this agency. Register to vote here, and let the candidates know you will not take it anymore!”


Remember not to say anything partisan in any way during the drive!  It is illegal.

Does my organization have to become a deputy registrar to conduct a voter registration drive?

Many states do not require any sort of registration or official representation.  However, some states do require voter registration drives to be registered or require the presence of a deputy registrar at the drive.  States requiring a deputy registrar or some other official allow anyone to be trained, usually in a short, one-time session, to conduct a proper registration drive.  Other states may also require voter registration forms to be notarized.  Please check with your Secretary of State’s office or county elections office to see what rules your state has.

When registering voters who are currently experiencing homelessness, what address should they provide on the registration form?

Most states allow a shelter address, a description of a general location at which the individual usually spends the night, or even a drawn map to be recorded as an address. An address is needed primarily for assigning people precincts and mailing election information. Confirm what may be used as an address with your local elections office.

Download full report as pdf | Acknowledgements | Introduction | Overcoming Agency Resistance | Frequently Asked Questions by Organizations about Conducting Voter Registration | Incorporating Voter Registration into the Intake Process | Conducting a Successful Voter Registration Drive | Overcoming Resistance by Individuals | Frequently Asked Questions by Individuals | Conducting a Voter Registration Party | Registering Tenants to Vote | Having Candidates Volunteer at Your Agency | Holding a Candidate Forum on Housing and Homelessness | Media Tips for Hosting Events | Letter Writing Power Hour | Leading Up to Election Day | On Election Day | Voting & Registration Information Flyer | Legal Issues and Practical Barriers to Voting for Homeless People | State-by-State Chart of Homeless People’s Voting Rights | State-by-State Chart of Disenfranchisement Categories | State-by-State Chart of ID Requirements | State-by-State Chart of Registration Deadlines & Residency Requirements | Court Decisions on Homeless People’s Voting Rights | Sample Phone Script | Sample Invitation Letter | Sample Media Advisory | Sample Press Release



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