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Voter Registration Tool Kit for Non-Profit Organizations and Social Service Agencies

Registering voters is the first step to helping people advocate for themselves. Elected officials owe their jobs to the people who elect them. Help make sure that you and the people you serve are voters.

Whether your organization works on affordable housing, substance abuse and mental illness, domestic violence, community development, etc. – you have the opportunity to make sure that the individuals who walk through your doors are registered to vote.

We at the CT Health Policy Project are registering the 400 consumer members of the Consumer Health Action Network. We have compiled the following information and materials to help other non-profit and social service agencies register their clients to vote – a tip sheet to help clients fill out their voter registration cards, answers to a list of common excuses for not voting, and letters to clients explaining the importance of registering to vote. All materials are in English and Spanish.

The following is an outline of the process that has worked for us at the CT Health Policy Project. Our network is geographically dispersed, and we generally communicate with our network members by snail mail. Please feel free to add/correct/contribute to these materials and adapt them to suit your client network. Let us know your adaptations so that we can pass them along to others.

Ask yourself the following question to plan out your voter registration drive – Do you have a list of the clients you serve, including their names and addresses?

If not, take some time (fifteen minutes in your regular staff meeting is plenty) to explain the voter registration process to your staff so that everyone is on board and knows how to fill out the voter registration cards.

  • Have voter registration cards (in English and Spanish) on hand for people who come to your office or community center. Call the Secretary of State's Elections Administration Division (860-509-6100) to request packets of registration cards – they will send you as many as you need.
  • Ask everyone who walks through your doors whether they are registered to vote
  • Bring registration cards to onsite visits
  • Help clients fill out the registration cards
  • Mail it in for them

If your organization does have a list of the clients you serve, follow these three steps to help everyone in your member network register to vote:

Step One – Find out who in your client network is and is not already registered to vote.

  • Contact the Registrar of Voters in each of the towns where you have clients. Contact info for the Registrars in Connecticut can be found on the Secretary of State's Web Site.
  • Fax a list of your clients, including clients' dates of birth (if you have them) and addresses to the Registrar’s office.
  • The Registrar will get back to you with information about who is and is not registered in your client network.

Step two – Create candidate cards for each of your clients.

  • To find out who the candidates running are in each of your clients' districts, go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/e4/?
  • Search by address, city, and state for each of your clients to get the districts for all offices in this election.
  • See attached Candidate Contacts document for candidates' local phone numbers, last updated August 2. You can also use the Campaign Finance Information System on the Secretary of State's website for updated candidate contact info – http://cfisct.sots.state.ct.us/cfis.jsp. Click on Public and then Candidate. For each candidate, choose Registration Information and look for Candidate Phone. Or go to http://www.ctbizvotes.com/ for candidate contact info. Select the town, click on More Information, and look for Home Phone.
  • Create candidate cards including candidates' names, political parties, and local phone numbers (or local address if phone number is not available) for each client including all their candidates from President to State Representative.

Step three – Send voter registration packets to clients.

  • Include voter registration cards (English and Spanish) for each client who is not yet registered to vote. You may choose to include voter registration cards for all clients, whether or not they are registered, and encourage those who are registered to help their neighbors and friends register to vote.
  • Fill in the Registrar of Voters address on the voter registration cards you send to clients (either by hand or using printed labels). Use the address of the Registrar in the town where they live, not where they work.
  • Include a tip sheet to help clients fill out the voter registration cards. See our tip sheet in English and Spanish.
  • Include a letter explaining why voting matters (see ours below) and answers to a list of common excuses for not registering to vote in English and Spanish.
  • Include candidate cards specific to each client’s voting district (see a sample of our candidate cards).

Contact us if you would like your clients added to our Consumer Health Action Network newsletter list at information@cthealthpolicy.org or calling toll-free in CT 1-888-873-4585.

Related tools:

Candidate contact file – Excel file of contact information for all CT candidates running for US Congress, US Senate, State Senate and State House of Representatives.

Letter to Non-registered Voters in English

Letter to Non-registered Voters in Spanish

Letter to Registered Voters in English

Letter to Registered Voters in Spanish

Common Excuses for Not Registering and Answers in English

Common Excuses for Not Registering and Answers in Spanish

Sample Candidate Cards

Registering to Vote Tip Sheet

Inscribiendose para votar

Holding a Voter Registration Drive

How Nonprofits Can (and Can't) Participate in Election Activities, from the National Council of Nonprofit Associations