Making sure that conservatives are registered to vote is one of the most fundamentally important activities for the future political success of the conservative movement. And that means voter registration drives.
One of the unpleasant truths of political life is that conservatives tend to be just as bad (or apathetic) about registering and voting as the rest of the general public. The result is that we don’t leverage our numbers and have the impact that we should. The simple fact is that if conservatives aren’t registered they can’t vote. And if they don’t vote, they don’t count.
The best way to have the highest rate of success in registering the right voters is to focus your efforts where those potential conservative voters gather on a regular basis.
In other words, church.
Every poll demonstrates that people who attend church hold the most politically conservative views, and vote accordingly when they actually do vote. By conducting regular voter registration drives in churches, we leverage our time and resources by registering voters who are already likely to agree with us and don’t require as much time and resources to convince to vote the right way on Election Day.
Here’s a list of some simple steps that you can take to conduct successful voter registration drives in your church.
Get Permission First
Make sure that you get the necessary permission from the pastor or other church leadership to conduct a voter registration drive. By making sure that they approve, you can avoid any problems or confusion and possible clear the way to having them help promote it ahead of time. Better still, they may even participate!
Get the Necessary Materials
You should be able to easily get copies of the voter registration form for your state from either your Secretary of State’s website or from your local voter registration office. It may even be possible to download a copy of the form and make copies, if that is acceptable in your state, (just be sure to call and find out ahead of time). Make sure to have enough forms on-hand for your church. A good number would be enough for at least half of your membership.
Promote It Ahead of Time
This is where having permission and cooperation from church leadership can be a big help. Place an announcement in the church bulletin several weeks in advance. If there is a bulletin board for announcements, or a time for announcements from the congregation, try to use these as well. If possible, get the pastor or other church leadership to make an announcement from the pulpit and give directions to where the registration table is located.
Set Up the Registration Table
Be sure to set up registration tables in areas that have heavy traffic, such as near the exits. Spread the forms out on the tables in such as way that everyone can easily access them. And make sure to have plenty of pens available.
Be active. Don’t sit down behind a table, but stand near the table and engage people in conversation. If you’re not pro-active, people are more likely to pass you by. Ask if they are registered to vote. Encourage them to fill out their form immediately at the table rather than taking it home where they might forget. Tell them that you will make sure that it gets delivered to the voter registration office.
Have a “Stand-up Sunday”
The most effective method of registering voters in a church is to have the pastor or other church leadership ask everyone to “stand up” if they are registered to vote, then have ushers pass out voter registration forms to everyone who is still seated. People are then asked to fill out their forms in their seat and either pass them down to the ushers or place them in a central location at the end of the service. Let everyone know that the church will take responsibility to make sure that the forms are delivered to the voter registration office.
Follow Up For More Impact
Be sure to make note of the names and contact information of everyone who has registered. This will enable you to follow up with them and make sure that they get important issue education information, as well as remind them to vote prior to future elections.
To be even more effective, you can get a copy of the current voter registration list for your area and cross-reference it with the names in your church directory (and/or other nearby churches) to identify which members are not currently registered to vote. Then contact them about helping them register. Talk about accountability and the civic responsibility to participate in self-government, and the policy changes that could occur if more church members participated in our political process.
While the church is the largest market for unregistered conservative voters, there are other places that should be considered as well, such as religious schools and bookstores.
Finally, be sure to help magnify this effort by reaching out to other conservatives in your area and encouraging them to hold a registration drive in their church as well.
Remember, political success boils down to simple arithmetic. And every vote counts.