5 Last-Second Ways To Help Get People Registered To Vote
Franklin Delano Roosevelt might have been literally predicting the future when he said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, among the 35 top developed world nations, the U.S. places 31st when it comes to voter turnout. Nearly half of Americans (myself included, unfortunately) didn’t vote in the 2012 presidential election. And in that particular election, less than half of eligible millennials exercised their right to vote — and we’re supposed to be the friggin’ future of America! Luckily, though, there’s still time to register — and to help other people get registered to vote before the fast-approaching voter registration deadlines are upon us.
Because it’s 2016 and the future is basically now, it’s easier than it’s ever been to help people get registered to vote. (Heck, you can even register to vote on Snapchat!) Most states will allow their residents to register online these days, so even if you live somewhere remote AF, and have very little free time, you can still help boost voter turnout this November by posting voter registration info online for your friends and family.
Read on to learn more about how to help people get registered to vote in the 2016 presidential election — because no matter how you feel about the candidates, every vote counts.
1. Post Voter Registration Info On Social Media
Since literally everyone and their mother seems to be on Facebook these days, social media is probably one of the best places for you to "get out the vote." Everything anyone could possibly need to know about getting registered to vote for the 2016 election — from voter registration deadlines to names of voter registration apps to links where residents of select states may register online — can be found online. It's likely that not everyone on your friends list is aware of this, though, so doing something as simple as posting this link on Facebook could potentially bring in a lot of new voters. Plus, if you're super shy or just really busy, social media is a great way to encourage people to register without feeling pushy or getting overwhelmed. When it comes to registering voters, posting links to social media is just about as quick, easy, and non-intrusive as you can get.
2. Volunteer To Register Voters From Home Or At Your Local Campaign Office
If you have any free time and energy to spare, there are lots of "old school" options for helping to register new voters that you might want to look into. If you have the time and inclination, you can always volunteer to register voters at your local campaign office. If you feel like helping out in a more physically active way, canvassing for voters in your neighborhood is also an option. And if both of those suggestions don't fit into your schedule, you can also volunteer to register voters from the comfort of your home.
3. Organize Your Own Voter Registration Drive
If you're feeling particularly ambitious, and you like to lead, then you might consider spearheading your very own voter registration drive. It doesn't need to be fancy to be effective, either; as long as you make sure to advertise your event on social media, print off plenty of voter registration forms, recruit a few committed volunteers, and get advance permission to use a local venue (like a church, school, etc.), then you should be set.
Organizing even a low-scale voter registration drive will take some time, though, so this may not be a realistic goal if you live in a state like Montana or South Carolina, where voter registration is only valid if submitted 30 days prior to the election. If you act fast, and live in a state where voter registration deadlines are still a couple of weeks away, however, then there's definitely still time to put together your own event. Check out this handy how-to guide if you're up for the challenge.
4. Respectfully Remind Undecided Voters That The Right To Vote Is A Big Deal
Obviously, you don't want to guilt-trip unregistered voters into registering. That's condescending and preachy as all hell, and it will almost certainly do more harm than good. That said, if any of your loved ones feel ambivalent about voting in this election, maybe you should open up a dialogue with them about why voting is important. Even if they're not particularly jazzed about either presidential candidate, it doesn't change the fact that the right to vote has been a friggin' battle in this country for women and people of color, which makes it even more important to exercise it.
The facts are, before the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the majority of black Americans in the South were prevented from registering as voters, and it's been less than 100 years since women were even allowed to register as voters in the United States. A lot of people have fought long and hard to secure us these rights, so it's worth thinking about their struggle when you're deciding whether or not to vote.
Of course, these facts alone might not encourage your friends and family to register, but it's still a discussion that's worth having.
5. Register Voters On Your Smartphone
If you live in a state where it's possible to register voters online, then all you need is your phone and a decent internet connection to take action. You can register voters on Snapchat and Facebook (if they have their own accounts), or you can download a voter registration app on your phone (because, yes, those exist now) and let people use it. So whether you're at work, a family dinner, or waiting in line at the grocery store, all you'll have to do is whip out your smartphone to help people get registered. Seriously — participating in the glory of the democratic process is now just as easy as ordering takeout (and probably significantly healthier for you, if we're being honest), so get involved.
Bustle has partnered with MTV’s Elect This to talk about the issues and encourage voter registration. Get registered now at electthis.com
Images: Caroline Wurtzel/ Bustle (4); Giphy(5)