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Conducting Voter Registration Drives

The cornerstone of our democracy is the ability for citizens to vote. The first step to voting in any state is registering citizens to vote, so that on Election Day their name is on the voter rolls and they are allowed to participate in the democratic process. One of the most effective ways to increase voter registration rates is for groups to conduct nonpartisan registration drives. Registration drives are particularly effective in registering groups that often face barriers to voting, such as the elderly, low-income, minorities, and young people.

The rules and regulations for conducting a voter registration drive vary by state. Furthermore, in the last few years, there has been a concerted effort by many state legislatures to make the entire voting process more difficult. In some cases, even small errors can lead to stiff penalties or the denial of voting rights. In an effort to encourage voter registration drives, the CWA Human Rights department has compiled a set of guidelines for each state. These guidelines should be followed to ensure that all voters wishing to register have the opportunity to do so.

While the guidelines below are up-to-date, organizers are encouraged to contact the local elections official before conducting a registration drive in a jurisdiction to ensure that the rules have not changed.