In addition to showing up at district offices, town halls, and making calls, there is another essential way constituents hold their Members of Congress accountable—voting! However, before constituents can vote, they have to register. With over 5,000 Indivisible groups across the country, imagine the number of voters we can register together.
TurboVote is an online application that helps voters get registered, stay registered, and get the information they need to vote in every election for the rest of their lives. Specifically, they track voters’ election calendars and get in touch through email and text messages before every election to assist with registering to vote, updating voter registration information, requesting absentee ballots, and finding a polling place.
In addition to offering access to TurboVote to anyone for free, Indivisible is now providing a way for Indivisible groups to create their own TurboVote subsites that include their group’s name/branding and give their group's voter registration point person access to the voter registration user data that is collected. This means that as an Indivisible group you will be able to keep track of how many people you registered to vote, who they are, and follow-up with folks who opt-in to your contact lists.
Why Do We Register Voters?
Strengthen Democratic Participation
There’s a simple answer to why we register voters: the more voters we register, the more voters we can turn out to vote on Election Day. But voter registration is also about ensuring that every American can be an active participant in our democracy.
Fight Against Voter Suppression
Despite being a sacred right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the right to vote in our country is dependent on registration, a process which still creates a barrier to voting for many Americans. If you don’t have internet access at home, are unable to visit a city clerk’s office to pick up a form, or if your county doesn’t offer voter registration forms in languages other than English, it can be more difficult to register.
If you think barriers to voting are a coincidence, think again. For some voters, registering to vote can be a mild inconvenience, but for many Americans, securing their right to vote and ability to register has been a long fight throughout the history of our country. The history of laws designed to suppress voting along racial lines continues to this day.
Today’s racist voting laws come masked with other names. Some states require certain forms of ID to be able to register to vote. In many states, you need to already have a driver’s license or state ID to register to vote. Many states also purge citizens with felony convictions from the voting rolls—and then never let them back on. These policies disproportionately impact people of color, who are more likely to be arrested for low-level felony charges. Today, one out of every 13 African-Americans of voting age cannot vote because of these policies. You can read more about voter suppression laws in our guide Voting Rights and Voter Suppression.
As a result, people of color face institutional barriers to voting. While the 15th and 19th Amendments finally gave black men and all women the constitutional right to vote, people of color continue to face institutional barriers to voting and are registered at lower rates than white Americans.
Low-income and young voters are also registered at lower rates. While political pundits on TV may claim that these lower voter registrations are the result of apathy, oftentimes lower income and younger Americans simply don’t know where or how to register to vote, or are intimidated by the process.
Only 57.7% of Americans with family incomes of less than $10,000 are registered to vote, compared to 85.7% of Americans with family incomes of $150,000 or more.
Registration rates are far lower among young people (55.4% for 18-24 year olds) than among their parents and grandparents (78.7% for 65-74 year olds).
Engage Inactive Group Members
In addition to strengthening democratic participation and fighting back against voter suppression, conducting voter registration is an excellent way to engage your group. Registering voters is a rewarding, fun, non-partisan activity. By hosting registration events, you’ll likely interest members of your group who haven’t come out to actions in the past and bring in new folks from your members’ networks.
Recruit New Group Members
Voter registration can also help you recruit new members and grow your group. You’ll meet a lot of new people while registering voters. Face-to-face conversations will always be the best way to develop meaningful connections when organizing. Registration events are a great opportunity to invite passersby to your next event. Though voter registration is a non-partisan activity, you can also engage the folks you’re helping to register in conversation. If it sounds like you share similar values with these folks, invite them to your next meeting or action! Make sure to have flyers for your group on hand during voter registration efforts so that you are prepared not only to register people to vote, but to invite them to be a part of the Indivisible movement.
Why use TurboVote?
Easy to Use
TurboVote will walk new registrants through the entire registration process—and at the end they will be registered to vote (or just have to mail in their completed registration). It’s that simple!
No forms, No Problem
When registering voters with paper forms, volunteers need to keep track of a lot of forms. Not to mention, there’s significant liability that comes along with doing voter registration on paper—once you register a voter, you become responsible for making sure their registration form is handed in (and in compliance with state laws). Some conservative state governments have significantly ratcheted up the penalties for turning in paper forms late as a way to discourage voter registration. This tool does all that work for you.
Registration is Always Complete and Legible
It may seem trivial, but one of the big challenges of doing voter registration is making sure that registration forms are complete and easy to read. New registrants won’t be able to go to the next step without completing all the necessary fields and their answers will always be legible.
More than Voter Registration
This tool goes beyond voter registration. Voters can use it to apply for absentee ballots. The system will also send everyone who registers an automatic reminder when elections are coming up! Additionally, Indivisible will be able to keep track of the folks that groups register and make sure that they’re contacted in the lead up to elections.