Friday, October 3, 2008

Election Series: You can register voters

This guest post is from Julie Swanson at the Tobacco Control Resource Center

Did you know you can get deputized to register voters? I hosted a "Special Deputy Party" at my house last week. Here is what I did:

Hosting a Special Deputy Party in three easy steps.

1. Call your municipal clerk's office and set up a time for one of their staff to come to your party (they provide the education and do the swearing in).

2. Invite friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. Face-to-face or a personal phone call worked best for me.

3. Get everyone together and learn the rules (this took about 30 minutes for our group). Take your oath and you are ready to register others. It is as easy as that.

Three lessons I learned.
1. You have to explain what "special deputy status" is and what they can do. Most people didn't know.
2. Make it fun. I called the event a Dessert and Deputy Party. And afterwards each person got a Special Deputy star and I took their photo.
3. End by talking about ways people can use their special deputy status. Here are some ways we talked about:
-one person volunteers at a homeless shelter and will bring her forms next time she goes
-call your PTO and ask about coming to the next meeting
-call church and talk with the social justice coordintor or youth minister
-set up a table in a high traffic place

In Wisconsin you can register people until October 15 (forms must be in by 5:00 pm). After that they need to register at the polls. I have to go register some voters.

Results: Kathy Wolf, who got deputized at the party, just told me she registered 5 people on Sunday and helped another five who did not live in Madison get the information they needed to register! Ten more people voting on November 4th!!!

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