The deadline to register before the general election here in Massachusetts is thus Thursday. If you are free this weekend, it’s the perfect time to run your very own voter registration drive! They’re very easy to do, and they can make a huge difference.
I’ve run several outside of the Quincy Center MBTA station with great success. I personally love doing voter registration drives because I can’t physically canvass. I can, however, easily find a public space to set up a table and chair to help register voters. Knowing that I’m helping people become more civically engaged feels great.
Requirements. Voter registration drives in Massachusetts are very easy to do, as there are no official requirements by the state. The Secretary of State recommends contacting your local police department to let them know you’ll be holding a drive. I also recommend letting the election clerk of the city or town know where you’ll be as well.
Finding a location. The first thing to think about is foot traffic. You want an area where there are a lot of people walking by but where you won’t be obstructing traffic. Local parks and local libraries (set up out front and catch people on their way in!) are great spots. If you choose to run a registration drive on private property, you need to get permission from the owner first.
Supplies. You can get voter registration forms from your local election official, or simply print them off from the Secretary of State website. The website also has cards in many other languages and even large print. And don’t forget to have an ample supply of pens!
Bring a friend! You can run a voter registration drive solo, but it’s easier—and more fun—if you have someone to help. If you plan to run the drive for several hours, having a second person to means you can take breaks easily.
What Next? Before you start, consider whether you plan to submit the registration cards yourself. Mail registration forms to the appropriate town clerk or deliver them in person ASAP. You can find the mailing addresses on the Secretary of State website http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleclk/clkidx.htm.
You must submit cards within 2 days of the drive (and sooner if you’re close to the registration deadline). If you’re planning on delivering them in person (which is best if you’re cutting it close to the mail-in deadline), make sure that you’re dividing up your registration form by city/town—and have the time to go to each office.
Registering Online. You can let people know they can register online if they have a Massachusetts ID. Just put the website (https://www.sec.state.ma.us/OVR/) on a slip of paper along with the registration deadline, and – voila! – you have a perfect handout. If people are already registered, they can update their address and party affiliation there as well.
Have questions? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!