Updated: Aug 17
Picture this. You have attended a Travis County Voter Registration VDR Training. You have learned everything you need to register voters, and you are excited to do just that!
But, you don't know where to start!
Well, we are here to help by showing you how to organize and host your own event!
Why host your own events?
For the same reason, we register everyone to vote - because everyone should vote, and have their voices heard in local, state and national elections!
And, sadly, there are many people unaware of their rights. From those who are experiencing homelessness, to those who have been previously convicted of a felony and are off-paper, even those without IDs, there are many many people who do not realize they have the right to vote, and because of that they may not pursue voter registration.
And even if they are aware, many do no have the time or means to register to vote on their own time. This is especially the case for Texas, since we do not have Online Voter Registration. So because many cannot come to us, we must go to them!
Plus before someone can vote, they need to be registered to vote. However, in the state of Texas, a resident has to be registered to vote thirty days before an election, so it is important, everyone is registered, and up to date on their registration as soon as possible!
And finally, VDRs will not simply register voters. Bruce Elfant, our Voter Registrar likes to call our VDRs Civic Engagement Ambassadors. Even if someone is already registered to vote, and up to date on their registration, VDRs will often inform residents of upcoming elections, and offer access to voter guides.
So even if you do not register a single voter at an event, you are informing tons of people of upcoming elections!
Breaking down a Voter Registration Event - VDR Leads vs. Support
A Voter Registration Lead or a VR Lead is quite different from Voter Registration Support.
The VR Lead of an event will be in charge of the event including:
Gathering the necessary supplies for the event
Getting permission to set up event (if necessary)
Staying present for the length of the full event, or ensuring a VR Lead is present the full time
Delivering the VR Applications to the Main Tax Office, or assigning someone to deliver the forms
Something to note is that one event can have more than one VR Lead. In fact for larger events we recommend having more than one Lead
VR Support on the other hand only has to sign up and show up for an event shift. However, they can offer support in a variety of ways. In fact the work of the VR Support is so important, because the event could not be done without them!
How to Organize a Voter Registration Event as a Lead
There are three steps to organizing a VR Event:
First let us start with Assemble. You will want to start with assembling supplies. We recommend the following:
Voter Registration Applications
Next you will want to assemble volunteers! There are a number of ways we recommend assembling volunteers, such as:
Making a call on our Facebook Page
Making an Event on our VR Event Calendar
Creating a Sign-up Genius, and sharing that to our Facebook or Community Page
Or partnering with an organization, such as the League of Women Voters, and working with them to host an event
After step one, you will want to move on to step two, which is Set Up. That is to say, you will want to set up at a location. We recommend the following types of locations:
Your Community Center
Your Local Library
Your own front yard
Of course, you will want to check in with these locations before setting up to register voters, especially in the case of private businesses.
Finally, once you are set up, it is time to Register Voters! Here are a few tips to make sure your event runs smoothly:
Host your event for at least two hours
Schedule your volunteers into shifts, with each shift being no more than two hours
A VDR Lead should be at the event for the entirety of the event
The VDR Lead should collect all Voter Registration forms to take to the voter registration office, OR assign a VDR Support to do so.
Where to go from here
Now it seems we are back to the original question.
Where do you start?
Now that you know how to host a VR event, you can go out and host your own event!
However, we understand that there is a difference between knowing how to do something, and actually doing it. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations you can work with to get your feet wet:
The League of Women Voters in specific have a couple of ongoing VR Events, such as events at the Alamo Drafthouse, and their First Vote! Program. The best place to find these events are here:
There are many ways to register voters as a VDR! If you have any questions, or you would like to get paired with a mentor, you can contact us here:
We hope this will help get you started to register some voters!