How to help our clients Register to Vote.
- Cynthia Steward, League of Women Voters - firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Primary Mission of the League of Women Voters is to engage citizens in government. It also works to get folks registered and voting. Sometimes the League also does work on special projects.
- At the advocacy group meeting last week, we realized that many folks don’t know enough about voter registration to get their clients registered. (packets with voter registration info were passed out)
- You have to be 18 to vote (at 18 you can also buy cigarettes, play lotto, buy smut, get a tattoo, join the army ‘cause you want to, join the army ‘cause they want you to, and more – big year, turning 18). You must have a residence address and a mailing address. The residents address is a problem for folks experiencing homelessness. Some organizations allow you to use their site as a home address
- You can register to vote on-line or in person. Info to register on-line or in person is available at:
- If you have any capacity to help your clients do this on-line, that is great.
- Most clients need ID, like a Driver’s License or other id. If no ID, may need to go to the County Auditor’s office.
- In 2019 – you will be able to register to vote and then vote in person on the same day (pretty cool –ed.). In Pierce County, you can register to vote in advance and get the ballots mailed to you. You then fill out the ballot and put the ballot in a ballot box drop off box (it makes it feel more like voting if I do it this way. –ed.) or the mail. Currently, to vote on August 7th, you must register on-line by July 9th or in person by by July 30th.
- There is little voting in the primary, so your vote carriers more weight (everyone’s vote matters, but I like the idea of my vote counting more than usual…-ed).
- General election is Tuesday, November 6th. Registration can be done online by October 8th or in person by October 29th.
- The packets distributed have the list of pierce county drop boxes and voting centers (or you can see it at https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/334/Ballot-Drop-Boxes-Voting-Centers -ed.)
- The League of Women Voters publishes a directory of elected officials (available electronically at http://www.tacomapiercelwv.org/files/try_2018_w-correct_center_map_2-18-18.pdf -ed.). All the elected officials, maps of the districts, other valuable information. This is helpful for folk without access to a computer. It is also helpful to have as a quick reference. The League of Women Voters are more than happy to provide the booklets for you organization to put in your offices. Call in to 253-272-1495 and tell us how many you want and who you are, and we’ll provide you with some directories.
- People often feel like their vote doesn’t matter. In the last year, 7 local elections were decided by fewer than 30 votes – your vote does count.
- Some flyers by the Washington State ACLU (or at file:///C:/Users/Gerritn/Downloads/vrr_trifold_english_sept_2017.pdf ) – tells now to vote if you have a felony conviction - important information for many folks.
- Grab Voter registration forms – there is a big stack. (or get it in one of 18 languages, including English, at https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/print-voter-registration-forms.aspx . Did you know that the US has no official language? Although efforts to do just that seem to percolate to the surface occasionally – so that we live as “Americans”, and not “dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.”, as Teddy Roosevelt put it. I’d take a polyglot boarding house over a monolingual one any day.-ed.)
- If you assist someone in registering to vote, the auditor does quality control – not you (Cynthia told a great story of a massive voter registration drive from 1972, but I didn’t jot it down, so you’ll need to ask her for the details –ed.)
- The vote 411 site (http://www.vote411.org/ -ed.) shows what district you are in – and up pops all kinds of valuable information. Candidate information is also available – with side-by-side responses to a set of questions. A reference on-line may be prohibitive for your clients – but staff can walk folks through this resource.
- Al – is the voter registration for available in Spanish? Cynthia – yes, there are 18 languages available at the auditor’s office and on-line.
- Happy to come and talk to your staff. League of women voters want people to get engaged and vote! (I put the exclamation point in because it is such an exciting sentence. –ed).
- Larry – 7,000 voters who are experiencing homelessness can change an election. We can exercise political leverage in the County if we can get folks experiencing homelessness engaged.
- A couple civic engagement books – free on-line (around $20 in paper-form). These help for folks to get more civically educated.
- Patricia – for folks with no residence – where do they vote? Cynthia – many agencies will allow folks to use their address as their home base.
- Maureen – Pierce county was one of the first places homeless individuals could vote and where they are encouraged to vote.
- James – During the presidential election, only around 30% of folks actually vote.
- Glenn – I have been a member of this group since its inception – our goal is to help our community members, not push an agenda. This is a place we come together to help a certain population. When we start pushing our personal agendas, we stop functioning well. I don’t feel comfortable here like I used to – and that is why my attendance wanes. If I say what I’m thinking and I’m feeling, I may saboteur a future career opportunity. I may be interpreting this wrong, but I almost had a feeling that we were going to get our homeless population to vote so we could get them to vote “our way”. We want them to vote their hearts and souls, not our own personal agendas. Don’t steer folks towards your own agenda. James – I agree – we should encourage people to be active and help support combatting homelessness and poverty – but we do allow space for conservative views, liberal views, we work hard to open this space to everyone. We will work to keep this space focused on all folks working towards serving folks who are experiencing homelessness. Theresa – thanks for you view – what I heard was let’s hope we can get folks engaged in their community.
- James – always welcome comments counter to the flow of the room.