Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to get out HER vote on YOUR campus!

With just a few weeks before voter registration deadlines end in many states and only six weeks before election day on November 2, the time to get out HER vote on campus is now!

The Feminist Majority Foundation's Get Out HER Vote (GOHV) campaign is the nation's only student-led voter education and registration initiative aimed at increasing young women's voter participation. It's not enough to register yourself and go to the polls this year -- we must register and inform every feminist on your campus! Feeling a little overwhelmed? To help you get started, utilize FMF's GOHV step-by-step guide to getting our HER vote on your campus today!

Step One: Prepare
1. Review the GOHV toolkit online and designate GOHV chairs to coordinate the campaign and volunteers on your campus.

2. Know the rules and don’t be intimidated! Do you know your state's deadlines to register to vote? Have you ever heard of a provisional ballot? Like with all of your activism on campus, you must educate yourself first before your can inform your campus community. Don't be fooled by the scare tactics and misinformation of others. Know your rights and cast your vote this year! Check out our GOHV website for information on your state’s rules.

3. Build your GOHV campaign around four political issues that will resonate with your group and campus. What are the issues that are most important to you? Do you have a pay equity bake sale each year to raise awareness about wage discrimination? Does your group focus on global women's rights and seek to ratify CEDAW? All of these issues and more can be influenced with your voice and your vote on November 2. For more ideas use the What’s at Stake in 2010? GOHV handout to develop your GOHV platform.

4. Contact your county registrar to obtain voter registration forms, train to become poll workers, and petition for voting machines on campus. Visit our GOHV website to contact your Secretary of State or County Registrar to find the nearest location to pick up a large supply of voter registration forms. Be sure to become familiar with your state's voter registration form, instructions, guidelines, and voter registration deadline.

Step Two: Register
1. Table in high-traffic areas with GOHV materials. Draw attention to your table with balloons, signs, and banners. Have lots of registration forms, voter pledge sheets, and a list of polling stations on hand. No materials other than the registration form should reference political parties or any candidate. Remember you can not deny anyone the right to register to vote based on party affiliation. Don’t just sit behind the table – engage everyone passing by, and ask them to sign the GOHV voter pledge. Encourage students to register to vote using their local address, and tell them you will call them to remind them to vote before Election Day. If your state offers early voting, encourage students to vote as early as possible!

2. Contact the chairs of Women’s Studies and other departments on campus for permission to pass out voter registration forms at the beginning of class and explain how to fill out the form and the location of the nearest polling place. Be sure to collect completed forms at the end of your presentation and deliver them to the local registrar before the deadline!

3. Talk about the issues without endorsing candidates or political parties, and let students know how to sign up to get paid as a county poll worker. FMF's GOHV campaign is a non-partisan, issue-based campaign that does not oppose, support, or otherwise endorse any candidate for public office.

4. Deliver voter registration forms to the local county registrar before the registration deadline! **This is one of the most important steps!** If you don’t turn in the forms, you could be violating state law. Make several trips – county clerks offices often have small staffs, so it is important not to overwhelm them by delivering large stacks of forms all at once.

5. When you drop off completed registration forms, check the voter rolls for a random sample of names you previously submitted. This is a great way to verify the voters you register are getting onto the rolls.

Step Three: Mobilize
1. The month between your state’s voter registration deadline and November 2nd is the best time to mobilize registered students. Blanket campus with information about where and when students can vote. Leaflet with the GOHV FAQs handout to help students who may have questions. If your state offers early voting, publicize it widely.

2. Educate your campus through PSAs on campus radio, op-eds in your student newspaper and a panel discuss with coalition groups on campus about the issues at stake in this election.

3. On the day before Election Day, volunteers should set up a phone-bank to call students who signed voter pledges, remind them to vote, and let them know poll locations. If the main student polling location is off-campus, find out if the student needs a ride and organize a car pool.

4. Election Day – Organize voting rushes on Election Day to rally and lead hundreds of students to polling locations. Host an election watch party after the polls close to celebrate all your hard work!

Just in case you didn't already know: VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2nd!

This was post was featured in the September 2010 campus eZine. To join our mailing list, sign up here.

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