Voter registration and voter engagement are important because an engaged and informed electorate is a basic need for the future of libraries. Now imagine if all your library’s users were registered voters!
Because your library already plays a role in civic engagement and democratic expression, EveryLibrary is encouraging libraries to sign up as a National Voter Registration Day partner organization and invite volunteers to set up a voter registration booth at your library on September 22, 2015.
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!
Just go to the National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) website to become a partner to allow volunteers to come to the library and register voters. Even though the signup form says July 31st, if you sign up before September 4th 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.
When you sign up your library to be a national partner of National Voter Registration Day, participation includes one or more of these:
- Allowing volunteers to register voters on your property
- Organizing a voter registration effort on September 22nd, 2015
- Promoting voter registration and/or volunteerism through marketing and communication efforts
- Financially supporting and/or making in-kind donations to National Voter Registration Day
This is a non-partisan effort supported by the League of Women Voters, Nonprofit VOTE, Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, and the Fair Elections Legal Network,
• Get Your Library Involved in National Voter Registration Day (Sept 22) by PC Sweeney at EveryLibrary
• About National Voter Registration Day
Image source: National Voter Registration Day > General Public Toolkit