Not everyone is a registered voter. There are those who may have been too young to vote in prior elections, individuals new to an area who need to update their registration status, persons who may have been ineligible to vote due to past convictions but can now vote, new citizens, etc. Including content on your campaign site to help people register and vote is a public service and can aid your campaign.Start by checking with your state elections office. What online resources are provided to help with this effort? Is it possible to register online? Request an absentee ballot? How easy is it to find and follow the process? If your state offers straightforward tools and widgets, consider incorporating them into your site or linking to them. If your race is not statewide, check with your local supervisor of elections office regarding their offerings.
When adding links to or tools from third party sites, research how voter information will be used and shared. Make sure the external source is reputable and that data is being used appropriately and legally. If linking to a third party site, make sure the link opens a new browser window.
Depending on your race, another option may be to include widgets or links offered by your political party. For non-partisan races, this is a non-starter. It also may not be appropriate in situations where you are outreaching to individuals outside of your party.If the above options do not meet your needs, check the tools offered by the nonpartisan site VOTE.org. They offer the following free civic engagement tools:
- Register to vote
- Verify registration status
- Request absentee ballot
- Receive election reminders
Using these offerings is straightforward and does not require substantial technical skill, depending on the platform used to build your site. In most cases, all that is required is copying several lines of code and placing it on a page. As part of using these tools, anyone who submits their information via the VOTE.org is sharing their information with VOTE.org. Before installing these tools, be sure to assess whether this data sharing is in keeping with your campaign data policies.Since data is being captured by VOTE.org, this allows them to offer premium tools to campaigns with larger budgets. A feature of the premium tools is the ability to access information on those who used the tools installed on your site.As election day approaches consider adding early voting information (if applicable) and election day voting info. It can be as simple as providing dates / times along with links to the appropriate pages on your local elections site with location info. If there are groups assisting voters with rides to the polls, consider adding information about these services to your site as well.