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Training new VDRs to register Voters in the Vietnamese- American Community

Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant swearing in newly trained VDRs

On Saturday afternoon, March 25th,the organization Trúc Việt invited Travis County Voter Registration to host a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR) training for their members at the Asian American Resource Center on Cameron Rd.

VDR Outreach and Training Coordinator Meg Pettersson

For those who do not know, a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, or VDR, is someone who is appointed by county voter registrars to officially register voters in the state of Texas. Travis County Voter Registration typically trains VDRs virtually, or through our online training video. If you are interested in one of our more typical trainings, you can check them out here

However, while Travis County Voter Registration primarily conducts virtual trainings via Microsoft Teams, we have begun to open private trainings both virtually and in person for organizations. Trúc Việt is one of the organizations who have given us the privilege to train their members.

According to their website, Trúc Việt was founded in 2016, “with a mission to improve the quality of life for Vietnamese Americans by enhancing awareness of the traditions and values, and to share the Vietnamese culture to others through educational and cultural projects.”

Trúc Việt Community Engagement Chair Lucy Nguyen

The Community Engagement Chair and Past President of Trúc Việt, Lucy Nguyen, worked closely with TCVR’s VDR training and outreach coordinator Meg Pettersson to arrange this training. According to Nguyen, Trúc Việt started out primarily focusing on teaching both Vietnamese and English as second languages. From there, they moved on to partnering with the League of Women Voters to create voting guides in Vietnamese.

“However, it became very clear to us that providing voter’s guides was not enough,” Nguyen shared, “Once Vietnamese immigrants become citizens, they lack the information and education to fully participate in our electoral system.”

Because of this, Trúc Việt has also expanded into Civics 101, a citizenship coaching program, as well as encouraging their members to become VDRs.

And Nguyen has certainly encouraged many to join our VDR team! Around 10-15 people attended the training, with more than half of the class having attended a VDR training for the first time. Bruce Elfant hosted and led the training, with many of the attendees asking many valuable questions.

Trúc Việt Members during the VDR Training

For example, one of the training attendees asked a question related to “Agents.” An agent is a person that, according to state law, can fill out and sign a voter registration application. The agent has to be the parent, child, or spouse of the voter registration applicant. However, the attendee asked if the agent also had to be a citizen, to which the answer was yes. In short, an agent also has to be able to legally register to vote. This was a very good question, given the fact that Trúc Việt works with many Vietnamese immigrants.

Newly trained VDR selecting VDR Forms

All in all, the VDR Training was quite the success, and was also positively received. Nguyen brought a wide variety of snacks, many questions were asked, and supplies were passed out. Ms. Pettersson supplied VDR Forms in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin. [MORE LANGUAGES?] We were so excited to host a training for passionate people, aiming to serve a community that has historically been overlooked.

Bruce Elfant ended the training with this sentiment, “We are happy to provide VDR trainings in a much more convenient way, through virtual trainings, and our online training video. But, I have to admit, in-person trainings are personally my favorite.”

If you are a part of an organization that is interested in hosting a private VDR Training, please contact our VDR Training and Outreach Coordinator Meg Pettersson at We host private VDR trainings with organizations both in-person and virtually.

Newly Trained VDRs ready to register voters!

Editor’s Note: I would like to take a moment to shout out the Austin Chapter of the Links Incorporated. They invited Travis County Voter Registration to host a virtual VDR Training on Saturday March 11th. The Links Incorporated is a non-profit organization that consists of many professional women of African descent, and “are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.” We are honored to have been invited by this organization as well.

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