Get Your Library Involved in National Voter Registration Day (Sept 22)

Imagine if all your library’s users were registered voters? Well, on September 22nd, 2015, librarians have a great opportunity to offer a “program” to register voters on site complete with volunteers and marketing.

Imagine if all your library’s users were registered voters? Well, on September 22nd, 2015, librarians have a great opportunity to offer a “program” to register voters on site complete with volunteers and marketing.

A large number of libraries around the country will be participating in the event because it is so easy and cheap to participate but we want every library to join in. All you have to do is go to the national website and click on the link to become a partner to allow volunteers to come to the library and sign people up! The NVRD will send you marketing materials, teach your staff how to register voters (if you go that route), and the volunteers will take care of all of the paperwork. And don’t worry, this is a non-partisan effort supported by organizations like; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, Bus Federation Civic Fund, Fair Elections Legal Network, League of Women Voters, Nonprofit VOTE, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino.

Voter registration and voter engagement are important to all the libraries we work with.  This is why EveryLibrary is a partner organization for National Voter Registration Day 2015 and we believe that an engaged and informed electorate is a basic need for the future of libraries. So we’re encouraging libraries to become partner organizations, too.  Your library can share information about voter registration in your communities.  Your library can register people to vote.  Your library already plays a role in civic engagement and democratic expression.  We want to encourage libraries across the county to sign up as a partner organization and invite volunteers to set up a voter registration booth at your library on September 22, 2015.

As a partner organization, your library will get free training and marketing materials AND volunteers to register voters at your library on September 22rd.

Signing Up is Easy
You still have time to register as a partnered organization and it’s very easy to do through their website. If you sign up before September 4th, they will provide training and marketing materials for free! You can then use these materials to start planning a voter registration event on National Voter Registration Day on September 22th.

What Will You Have to Do?
We are asking you to sign up as a partnering organization through the website. This is easy to do and requires very little from the library. There are a couple of ways that we are asking you to partner with them and get involved.

  •  You can organize a Voter Registration effort on September 22.
  • You can allow their volunteers to set up a booth in front of your library to get people registered to vote.
  • You can simply promote voter registration and/or volunteerism through marketing and communication efforts.

Why Is This So Important?
Plan and simply, the more registered library users in your community, the better your chances of winning an election come election time. Imagine if every library user in your community was a registered voter that your ballot committee could engage with and ask to vote for the library? It is also so important that library staff, from pages to directors get familiar and comfortable with the political process. A well-trained and comfortable staff is a huge asset during your library’s election. You are still the front line on library advocacy and as such, those staff members are all, in a way, candidates.

Is This Legal?
Yes.  And it’s basic library work.  While it is true that staff can never tell the public that they should vote yes or no on any piece of legislation, especially library ballot measures, they can help members of the public to get registered to vote and give them information about elections.

But We’re Not On the Ballot
Whether or not your library is on the ballot this November, this kind of political advocacy within your community will help you in the years to come. The planning stages before you announce a ballot measure is called surfacing and the more time you take to build your advocates and political supporters before an election, the less work you’ll have to do come election time. So, get started now with National Voter Registration Day!

-PC Sweeney