Voter registration drives can be about more than simply taking down somebody’s details. They present a good moment to assert the principles of democracy and inclusion, and the opportunity to organise an engaging community event, speak out and build common ground in your area.
The purpose is to register as many people as possible to vote, and to do so, you will need to organise events that are meaningful and fun so that large numbers of people attend.
Most community groups have organised events before, and will know what works best where they are. If your community meets regularly, then it might be good to shape your voter registration drive so that it coincides with existing events. If you already have an event planned, you might want to include voter registration into your existing arrangements. To encourage more people to engage, you can build in activities so that those who cannot vote can share their issues and questions.
Elections are a time when the sovereignty and power of the people is most obvious. They remind us that it is the views and interests of people that matter. Your activities should return to the principle of democracy by making visible the lives, experiences and strength of your members. Most importantly, make sure you take photos and videos of the event, as this will encourage and inspire others to act. Please share your ideas and pictures from your event on the Facebook page, using #promotethemigrantvote or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you design your event in detail, you need to ensure that you have the basic equipment to register people to vote. You will need:
- A working computer
- An internet connection
- If you do not have an internet connection or computer, you can instead download and print voter registration forms. Make sure you have pens!
- Volunteers who know how to register people and are willing to assist on the day.
- Printed materials from the Promote the Migrant Vote website.
So people can register on the day, remind them to bring their National Insurance number with them. Many people may not know their National Insurance number, or it might be on a piece of paper or payslip that they cannot find; inform people early so they have time to find it. If your members do not have an NI number, they should bring ID with them instead.
Be sure to record how many people you have helped register. You can use pledge cards and other tools or even a simple sign in sheet to record their details and send them more information later. You may also want to take down their details to contact them to remind them to vote.
Designing your activities
There are four steps to think about when designing your event:
Step 1: Time and Location
Pick a venue or location that is open, safe, accessible for your members and where you can interact with the public. You may need to have access to wi-fi so that you can register people online.
The deadline to register to vote is 22 May 2017. Pick a date and time for your event that works for most of your members. Find out if there are events already planned and consider combing forces. Most events will be happening on the weekend of 13/14 May and 20/21 May. A list of existing events can be found on the Promote the Migrant Vote website.
Step 2: Designing Your Event
You can run different kinds of events, for example:
- A registration stall in a public place or at an existing event. All you will need is a table and the materials listed above. Be ready to speak about the issues you care about.
- An issues forum, where people to discuss what they are experiencing and what they want. Prepare and support people to give testimonies about their life in the UK and why democracy is important to them. Ask participants to share the issues they care about. Invite speakers, celebrities and people who are respected in the community to endorse your event. Limit the time of contributions so that everyone gets an equal chance to speak.
- Training on how to vote – invite experts from your local Electoral office to help you deliver the training. You can also contact Migrants Organise or one of our partners for more information.
Fun and family friendly events with food, cakes, bouncy castle, music, song and dance. There are many useful guides to help design inspiring and fun community events:
visit Promote the Migrant Vote for ideas.
Step 3: Organising your Volunteers
You will need volunteers to help coordinate and deliver your event successfully. Divide roles and make sure your core team is organised, understand the aim of the event and know what they need to do.
Step 4: Advertising and Outreach
Get the word out about your event as soon as you can. You should include a reminder to your members to bring their National Insurance number.
Here are some ways of getting the word out:
- Send out emails, tweets and set up a Facebook event with information about your event, including the location, date and time. You can also call or text your members.
- Download posters and flyers and distribute them in your local area. Ask for a permission to display your posters in shops, places of worship, schools, community centres and libraries
- Send invitations to specific organisations and individuals you want to attend
- Send out a press release to your media contacts
Make your Promote the Migrant Vote event fun! Use social media to promote it as it happens. By using #promotethemigrantvote you can join in a wider national movement of people around the country who will be organising similar events. Share your photos and your successes in registering people. You can upload your photos on our Facebook page, use the Twitter handle @migrantvote or email them to email@example.com.