Public Site Voter Registration/ID

Registering voters in busy public places is one of the most cost-effective ways of turning out voters. But following up with the new registrants is at best cumbersome and at worst downright impossible.

Mass non-partisan voter registration certainly has its place in election work. Large-scale organizations have the capacity to register hundreds of thousands of new voters, work that is done most effectively at busy public sites. The results are impressive: Project Vote reported that it registered one million voters in 2004 – and 350,000 of them voted. But when you’re doing voter turnout and education on a smaller scale in a specific community – when you’re doing integrated engagement – public site registration is generally not very efficient.

That said, it’s a great way of increasing the visibility of your campaign or project in a particular community. Studies have shown that it’s especially effective with registering young voters, so if that’s your demographic, get some volunteers out there. And finally, it’s a great way to find the folks in the community that are most inclined toward activism. Even if they’re already registered, they’ll stop to talk about the campaign or to learn about the issues, and may just agree to volunteer.

The Mechanics