Best Practices

Youth Vote Coalition
Carolyn Darrow
January 1, 2003
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Foreword
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
The search for effective programs to engage youth in our political process has accelerated as statistics
show a steady decrease in voter turnout and engagement in politics, particularly among young voters.
In 1971, the 26th amendment experienced the fastest ratification in history and granted the right
to vote to eleven and a half million eighteen to twenty year olds. In 1972, 49.6% of eighteen to twenty-four
year olds eligible to vote actually voted.1 Today that number has declined dramatically, by between thirteen
and fifteen percentage points.2 Although voting and overall youth engagement in our democratic process has
decreased, young adults do care about their communities and have demonstrated this through increased
rates of volunteerism and service.
Youth Vote Coalition recognizes the need to refine, focus, and adjust its efforts in response to knowledge
gained and thus I am happy to introduce Youth Vote Coalition?s first Best Practices Guide. This guide will
enable you to form a new Youth Vote Coalition in your community, plan annual activities, and implement a
youth voter outreach campaign using the most effective strategies. Youth Vote has consistently shown personalized
contact with a young potential voter has the greatest mobilizing effect.
The Youth Vote Coalition came together in 1994 to increase political and civic participation, and has
grown into a national nonpartisan coalition of over one hundred diverse organizations. Youth Vote works at
a grassroots level to re-engage youth; to build inclusive, accountable, and responsive government by encouraging
incumbents and candidates to address young citizens? concerns; and to promote public awareness
about the value of participation in democracy through the electoral process. Throughout our history Youth
Vote has ignited the political participation of millions.
Youth are the largest untapped voting block in United States elections and their numbers continue to
grow every day. For too long assumptions have been made about youth concerns and perspectives on politics
? assumptions that continue to contribute to an institutional decline in turnout. If you ask them directly,
young people will vote. This handbook shares our experience in learning how to ask.
Veronica De La Garza
Executive Director, Youth Vote Coalition
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
iv
Acknowledgements
Youth Vote would like to thank the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the
University of Maryland?s School of Public Affairs for their ongoing support of the Youth Vote Coalition?s mission to increase the
civic engagement of young Americans. Special thanks to the many people who participated in the Youth Vote Coalition 2002 sites
and provided feedback on process and achievements, including Robyn Bowers, Katie Cieslak, Angela Courtney, Ed Day, Colin
Durrant, John Eller, Shelley Hawes, Sonia Jarvis, Glenda Kizzee, Nata Koerber, Mike Kubiak, Christine Lindstrom, Roshona
Morgan, Ruben Ortiz, Nick Rugen, Francisco Sanchez Jr, Colleen Sarna, David Smith, Jennifer Smyser, Brian Tanner, Tim Taylor,
Robert Thorman, Phil Winters, and many others. David Nickerson shared past interactions with Youth Vote local Coalitions.
Thanks to Emily Hoban Kirby and Carrie Donovan of CIRCLE for their support with editing, layout, and graphics, and for their
patience. National Youth Vote Coalition members Adam Anthony, Scott Beale, Kinga Bernath, Ivan Frishberg, and Ben de Guzman
read through an early draft and provided insight and encouragement. Rebecca Evans, Jim Gibbons, Veronica De La Garza, India
Coaxum, and Carolyn Darrow at the Youth Vote Coalition thank all of you in the field of youth civic engagement for carrying out
such innovative programming and for always requesting more knowledge about what works.
Support for Youth Vote Coalition's 2002 program work in twelve national field sites was provided by a generous grant from the Pew
Charitable Trusts. More information is available at www.pewtrusts.org.
Contents
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Helpful Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Forming a Nonpartisan Coalition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
The Campaign:Voter Registration, Education, Mobilization,
and Election Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Endnotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Appendix A: Sample First Meeting Agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Appendix B: Sample Yearly Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Appendix C: Sample Pledge to Vote Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Appendix D: Sample Phone and Walk Sheets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Appendix E: Sample Phone and Walk Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Appendix F: Outreach Methods Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
v
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Introduction
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
This coalition-building handbook is specific to nonpartisan voting education campaigns for youth,
based on campaign experience1 at twelve national Youth Vote Coalition field sites ? local Coalitions?
where youth voting activities were implemented in the summer and fall of 2002 (Ann Arbor, MI;
Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Houston, TX; Little Rock, AR; Miami, FL; Portland, OR;
Oakland/Berkeley, CA; Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC; St. Louis/Kansas City, MO; St. Paul/Minneapolis,
MN). This handbook is intended to provide ?best practices? for young people and community partners interested
in creating local Youth Vote Coalitions to implement youth voting campaigns.2
Yale University has conducted quantitative evaluations of the effects of contact with the Youth Vote
Coalition on young people?s likelihood to vote. In 2000 and 2001 experiments,3 peer-to-peer contact through
neighborhood canvassing increased the likelihood of voting by eight to ten percentage points, while phone
bank activities increased that likelihood by three to five percentage points. In contrast, direct mail and email
campaigns have shown no significant increase in the likelihood of youth to vote. Research consistently shows
that more personalized contact has a larger mobilizing effect on young potential voters.4
In 2002 the Youth Vote Coalition pursued youth voter registration, education and mobilization through comprehensive
campaigns combining grassroots campaign tactics and earned/free media coverage. The sites
ranged from modest-sized cities to large metropolitan areas, from the heartland to the coasts. Youth in some
cities were already highly politically active, while other sites had difficulty building a volunteer pool equal to
their outreach plans. Some Coalitions struggled to integrate campus and community work, and other
organizers encountered specific issues of race, history, language and tolerance in developing their campaign
plans. All sites built appropriate ongoing Coalition structures, laying the groundwork for long-term
civic re-engagement.5 The diversity of the 2002 local Coalitions allowed Youth Vote to learn local challenges
and to study effective practices.
Public support for the program was outstanding?many local public officials are interested in reinvigorating
young citizens? political participation, and Youth Vote benefits from the support from the National
Association of Secretaries of State (NASS).6 Overall community support for Youth Vote, as shown by the
breadth of the local Coalitions and volunteer feedback was also overwhelming. The decline in young electoral
turnout has touched a nerve in the network of youth-focused institutions?schools, community
organizations, social service organizations, religious groups?and among young people, parents and policy
makers alike.
Whether citizens are participating in their first election or have been involved since turning eighteen,
current experience in the U.S. teaches public institutions and civil society organizations that promoting
voter education and mobilization is essential to civic participation. It is hoped that the lessons learned in
Youth Vote Coalition work will facilitate further development of the most effective, creative approaches
and partnerships. Youth Vote also hopes future research will confirm our experience that the ?direct
ask??simply asking a young person to vote in the next election ?directly impacts individual participation.
Every youth vote matters.
1
From the
Field . . .
One older gentleman in
the Miami site, a local
director of after-school
programs in his
economically
disadvantaged
neighborhood, told
Youth Vote with tears in
his eyes that he had
never heard of anyone
who cared about
whether ?his kids? voted
or not. Many of the
young people contacted
by Youth Vote echoed
this reaction.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
2
Who is This Handbook For?
You may be a young person interested in mobilizing others, a teacher eager to expand civic education,
a parent concerned about the decline in civic participation among youth, a community organizer seeking to build on youth
development and mobilize an overlooked demographic, or a public official ready to partner with the local
community to increase turnout; you may be anyone interested in youth civic participation. Whoever you
are, this booklet will give you the lessons Youth Vote has learned about the best ways to go about forming
and building a local Youth Vote Coalition.
Helpful Steps
Helpful Steps
Coalition Building
All sectors of a community need to work together to take on a task as challenging as changing the institutional
reasons young people are voting less. Coalitions should seek politically diverse members with complementary
capacities. For the youth voice to matter, all youth perspectives need to be heard, and Youth Vote
should reflect the diversity of the target generation. Designate a Coalition Coordinator; a ?point person? is a
necessity to a functioning coalition. Allow an appropriate coalition model to evolve locally.
Planning
Lack of planning can be catastrophic during an election cycle. Youth Vote Coalitions can increase their
effectiveness by holding an annual planning event, planning yearly civic education activities, and incorporating
specific election-related projects into annual plans. Coalition members should jointly plan election
activities that will challenge the Coalition and its partners to excel. Goals should be measurable and realistic,
and should recognize the capacity of Coalition members and partners. Budget issues can be overcome
through transparency,1 open communication, and an early definition of member roles and responsibilities.
Coalitions can increase their sustainability by keeping good records of meetings, agreements, plans, and procedures.
Use Research to Plan a Comprehensive Campaign
Use tactics research has proven to be effective?tabling, phoning, and canvassing?in the voter registration,
education, and mobilization phases of a youth voter outreach campaign. Leverage resources by applying
them most effectively. Use passive approaches and paid media campaigns to build name recognition, but
rely on more interactive outreach methods to increase turnout. The more personalized the contact, the more
it will mobilize young voters. Work with local research partners to evaluate the Coalition?s work. Maintain a
database of contacts made from phone and canvassing lists to re-contact youth voters and potential volunteers
in the future. Plan carefully for Election Day and beyond.
Executive Summary
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
In 2002 the Youth Vote Coalition pursued youth voter registration, education and mobilization through
comprehensive campaigns combining grassroots campaign tactics and earned/free media coverage in
twelve diverse sites throughout the nation. A variety of coalition structures and partnerships evolved to
carry out this program, led in each site by one to three Coalition Coordinators and a host organization supporting
youth voter mobilization. Local Youth Vote Coalitions faced many challenges in 2002 and learned
important lessons in coalition building, planning, and implementation which are detailed in this handbook.
Local Youth Vote Coalitions should create appropriate administrative structures to work together effectively,
and should actively pursue diversity, which lends legitimacy to a Coalition. Coalitions should hold formal
planning exercises at least once a year to prepare ongoing civic education activities and short-term comprehensive
voter outreach campaigns for specific elections. Transparency (openness) in program and budget
planning is essential, as is keeping records of meetings, agreements, plans, and procedures.
A well-designed voter outreach campaign should utilize proven effective outreach strategies such as
grassroots tabling, phone banking, and canvassing. Peer-to-peer contact to reach potential voters with voters
is particularly effective. Coalitions should use media effectively but not exclusively, and should use care
to maintain a nonpartisan reputation. A Youth Vote campaign typically includes four phases: voter registration,
education, mobilization, and get out the vote (GOTV)/Election Day.
Many resources on voter education and outreach exist, but often in the context of partisan or issue advocacy
campaigning. This Youth Vote Best Practices Handbook in Nonpartisan Voter Mobilization is designed
to help existing, new, and future Youth Vote Coalitions to create campaign strategies that will increase youth
political participation and voter turnout.
3
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
4
Forming a Nonpartisan
Coalition
Just how many young people can one person, working alone, register to vote? Probably not more than
a handful. A coalition of organizations and individuals can not only reach a large number of potential
youth voters, they can share resources, use several tactics, and build a respected and sustainable
long-term strategy that will last long after individual founders have moved on.1
Ideally, organization and individual members of the Coalition should develop long-term goals, and should
focus on increasing youth voting rates for all future elections. Political and ideological diversity generally
allows for more flexibility in reacting to partisan issues, and ultimately, leads to a more sustainable Coalition.
A politically and culturally diverse coalition will represent youth of different perspectives and opinions?
remember, every vote counts!
Lesson One: Seek Both Traditional and Nontraditional
Coalition Partners
?Must Have? Partners? Local Election Officials
Local election officials will help you obtain voter registration forms, understand deadlines and procedures,
and stay informed about the latest legislation. Plan for a long-term relationship and communicate
with your election office early and often, stressing the assistance the Coalition can provide to educate citizens
on their responsibilities as voters. Usually your Secretary of State?s office can help you make contact
with the correct local county or city election officers.2
Youth Vote experience shows that election officials often hold misconceptions about election procedures,
which they may pass along to poll workers. Election officials and poll workers need new training every time
there is a change in election law. Because these changes may be frequent, election officials may confuse the
new and old procedures. Discovering these problems on Election Day is too late. Work with your election officials
early to ensure that all Election Day procedures are understood and to guard against misunderstandings
that may be illegal-particularly regarding identification, language requirements, or access for disabled
voters.3 Ask questions about anything you yourself don?t understand.4
Other Coalition Partners
Other natural partners include community organizations that are already working to mobilize young voters.
But these are not the only partners needed to make a Youth Vote Coalition successful. Creative partnerships
?with local businesses, schools, and other groups?will strengthen the Coalition by bringing specialized
knowledge and new resources to
the table. Seek out partners with skills,
resources, and contacts that complement
those of the existing Coalition
members and will help to achieve program
goals.
Diverse partnerships indicate local
support and build the credibility and
From the
Field . . .
In Miami, Youth Vote Coalition
members from community
groups used volunteers to
canvass door-to-door using
Spanish, Creole, and French.
St. Paul Youth Vote Coalition
volunteers registered voters at
Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) swearing-in
ceremonies for new citizens
and their families. In Houston,
young parishioners from
different church denominations
competed for service points by
registering voters. At Berkeley
fraternities competed to
register the highest percentage
of their members ? with a
pizza party as the prize.
Building a diverse coalition
makes finding the right
message for the right audience
a lot easier.
Consider working with local election officials to set up
demonstration voting machines for first-time voters at voter
registration events. In a small pilot study, Yale University found
that demonstration machines used at High School voter
registration drives have a highly mobilizing effect.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
5 Forming a Nonpartisan Coalition
legitimacy of a Coalition. Working with different partners may help the Coalition find additional funding
rather than compete with similar organizations for the same grants. It is important to develop continuity
within the Coalition; shared responsibility will enable the Coalition to survive during times of transition.
Remember-an effective campaign should include all members of the community!
Lesson Two: Establish Roles and Responsibilities Early
A new Coalition has a lot to decide. In the first meeting members should designate a Coalition
Coordinator and Secretary, develop a mission statement that describes the Coalition, and set a meeting
schedule.
Begin with a Coalition meeting invitation to all potential members. For this initial meeting, prepare an
agenda explaining the ideas behind Youth Vote, voter mobilization history and techniques, and potential
project ideas.5 A handout of this information should be prepared for all guests and for any new members that
join later. Take photos to document local Youth Vote Coalition beginnings, and be sure to write and distribute
a press release!
Designate a Coordinator
Youth Vote Coalitions have included a remarkable range of Coalition structures and goals. But all successful
Coalitions have had at least one responsible point person?in the words of one Youth Vote Board member,
someone with ?bottom line, buck-stops-here responsibility.? Youth Vote has found that usually the ideal
person and organization to take the lead will identify themselves. That person and organization will be willing
to spend time to coordinate an ongoing Coalition. Consider forming a steering committee with a rotating
chair to assist the Coordinator.
Appoint a Coalition Secretary
Because representatives to the Coalition will undoubtedly change, be sure to appoint a Secretary to keep
minutes on decisions and agreements. Consider building a reference manual of Coalition structures and procedures.
The Secretary will need to send the minutes out to all Coalition members after every meeting. The
Secretary or Coordinator will also remind Coalition members about meetings and events. Consider setting
up an email listserv to communicate with each other easily.6
Also consider designating a Media Coordinator for the Coalition, especially if the Coalition plans to
undertake a specific voter outreach campaign.7
Establish a Meeting Schedule
After the initial meeting, designate a
steering committee of ?core? members
who can commit to good attendance.
This group can handle monthly organization
duties and low-level planning decisions.
Monthly meetings are recommended.
Local sites that span large geographic
areas have used conference
calls or have rotated meeting locations
so that one member does not always get
stuck with a long drive.
From the Field . . .
Jim Colbert, a botany professor
at Iowa State University, has
been involved with clean water
issues and is the advisor to a
student club that studies the
environmental effects of pollution
on local creeks and rivers. On
Earth Day each year over 150
students participate in river clean
up activities, but Professor
Colbert never considered asking
students to register to vote in
local elections or lobby to
strengthen the penalties for
polluters. After talking to a Youth
Vote organizer, he now invites
Youth Vote volunteers to register
new voters in his introduction
courses for freshmen? which
reaches up to 900 students per
semester.
In 2002, Boston and Houston?s
Youth Vote Coalitions operated
very differently, but achieved
similar results. In Boston, similar
organizations formed a
decentralized group that comes
together for all planning and has
no single decision maker. This has
slowed down some
communication, but has resulted
in strong ownership of Coalition
projects by the Coalition members.
In Houston, a strong leader has
brought together a diverse array of
Coalition members who are more
comfortable contributing to the
campaign as needed than in
making critical decisions outside
their realm of expertise. This has
created a streamlined campaign
with wide community support, but
all Coalition members may not
know each other?s roles and
responsibilities, or be able to step
in when plans need to be changed.
Designate a Coordinator Who Is:| A skilled planner and organizer ? these skills are more
important to this position than political experience.| Willing and able to spend a few hours per week planning
meetings, interacting with members, and recruiting new
members during the Coalition development stage.| Able to work with others, delegate responsibility, and
bring people together to fulfill common goals.| Reliable.
Traditional Partners and Nontraditional Partners
Traditional Partners Nontraditional Partners
Community organizations already registering and mobilizing youth to vote. For
ideas, check the national membership of Youth Vote Coalition, and inquire with
local election officials about their community partners.
Business partners. Seek sponsorship or in-kind donations. Also consider
contacting your local chamber of commerce and business clubs such as
Lions, etc. Be patient, many such potential partners will need a full explanation
of your program and time to consider the advantages of a partnership.
Public officials. Mayors, Secretaries of State, Congressmen, Senators, City
Council, School Board members. No elected official wants to look like they
disapprove of youth voting. Use elected officials to generate earned/free
media coverage ? invite them to speak at a Coalition event and send out press
releases.
Large employers with large numbers of young employees. Many large
employers have newsletters and run volunteer programs for employees?
participation.
High school systems can further promote civic education in the schools or
register students when they turn 18 (most students are age eligible to register
in the spring semester of their senior year).
Consider non-formal education centers in your community such as job
training programs, juvenile justice centers, industries and employers, after
school programs, religious youth groups, and so on.
Advocacy groups and members? partners. Most nonprofit and community
organizers bring a network of colleagues and previous relationships to a
Coalition.
Universities, colleges, and community colleges. For more information on the
good faith effort to distribute voter registration materials to all students
included in the Higher Education Act,8 contact the National Association of
Independent Colleges and Universities at www.naicu.edu.
Youth focused service organizations such as the YMCA/YWCA, Scouts, Junior
Achievement or 4H are a good place to start. Contact Youth Service America
for more information on working with youth service organizations (under
Resources).
Campus clubs and youth political groups. Start with Political Science and
Sociology, but don?t neglect other areas such as debate, environment, affinity
groups, sports, and college radio. Talk to campus officials about clubs,
fraternities, and campus chapters. Most colleges have a ?club information
day? for first year students.
Local chapters of Youth Vote Coalition national members. Contact Youth Vote
www.youthvote.org for more information.
Media organizations such as the local newspaper, TV station, or even internet
provider. Media partners can help deliver Coalition messages and build name
recognition for the Coalition among potential volunteers.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
6
Community nonprofit partners from other issue areas may bring resources
and experience ? for example, in developing and testing locally appropriate
materials.
Religious groups and faith-based youth groups. For more information and
materials on the Interfaith Alliance?s ?call to a faithful decision? on the role of
religious values in elections, contact the Interfaith Alliance (under
Resources).
Forming a Nonpartisan Coalition
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
7 Forming a Nonpartisan Coalition
Develop a Mission Statement
In the first meeting it is important to create a mission statement that describes the local Youth Vote
Coalition so that organizations can decide whether to join, new members can be recruited, and all members
can speak accurately to their colleagues and the press about the new Coalition.
The mission of the national Youth Vote Coalition is to increase participation, build responsive government,
and raise awareness. By using grassroots campaign techniques, Youth Vote reaches out to young voters
and increases local participation. By encouraging candidates and representatives to interact with young
constituents through debates and forums, Youth Vote works to build a more responsive government. Youth
Vote also communicates with local and national media to raise public awareness of the political participation
of youth.
The local Youth Vote Coalition may adopt all or some of these goals for a mission statement, based on local
capacity and interest. Remember that the Coalition mission must be nonpartisan9 and encompass goals and
values that all Coalition members share and agree upon.10
Listening to Coalition partners is an essential skill. Partners from other sectors may speak the language
of business or government, and may be unfamiliar with the way a nonprofit coalition of organizations works.
Some Coalition members will want to plan big campaigns to address the decline in voter turnout right away.
Others may be more cautious. It is important to find ways to foster an open exchange of ideas within the
Coalition to help bridge these differences. Establish member roles, responsibilities, and procedures early to
promote open communication.11
In the early stages of Coalition
development, Youth Vote
recommends that the Coalition be
careful not to take on too much.| Listen for member ?gives and gets.? What
does each member want to gain from the
Coalition? What is each member willing to
contribute?| Respect member concerns and address
them honestly.| Suggest a limited program to begin: voter
registration and tabling are a good start.12| Brainstorm the ideal, then focus on the
practical.| Fit Coalition plans to member goals and
keep member capacities in mind when
planning.
How to Increase Diversity| Utilize your members to reach out to
organizations and individuals they know.
Personal appeals are usually more effective than
official invitations. Ask members to talk with
potential members about the reasons they
themselves belong to the Coalition.| Be prepared to answer questions about what
new members will gain by joining the Coalition.
The Coalition should collectively write down the
benefits for members. Members can role-play a
typical interaction with a potential new member
to practice.| Emphasize the Coalition mission, which should
reflect values that any new member can agree
with: All young people should be able to
participate in the political and civic life of their
community.| Be honest about what members are expected to
contribute.| Be persistent. Always invite everyone to the
table.
From the
Field . . .
Multi-Party Youth Vote
Collaboration
The Des Moines Youth Vote
Coalition organized a campus
information day for the political
parties. Each party was allowed
to distribute materials on their
candidate?s platform and
issues, but was prohibited from
registering voters. Tables were
set up so that after viewing all
the information and talking
with the party representatives,
students could register to vote
at the nonpartisan Youth Vote
table. The university
administration was pleased
that Youth Vote could organize
a ?nonpartisan political event.?
The political student chapters
were able to inform voters of
ballot choices, which otherwise
would not have been allowed
under university rules.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
8 Forming a Nonpartisan Coalition
Actively Increasing Diversity
Youth Vote Coalition, a national, nonpartisan coalition of organizations, believes that political and ideological
diversity will always lead to more legitimate long-term results. Do not get discouraged. Continue to
pursue political and ideological diversity as your coalition grows.
Coalition members may need to educate community institutions about their collective role in increasing
citizen participation. Business leaders may not have considered they have a vested interest in promoting
strong and informed voting participation among their employees and in their community. Voting participation
benefits the private sector by increasing government regulatory transparency and neighborhood stability.
Political parties, candidates, and issue advocacy groups may be so focused on winning in the short term
that they may hope for fewer voters (i.e. only their ?own? voters). However, the strongest political parties and
advocacy groups are those that search for and target ?new? potential voters. 13
Best Practice: Strategies for Maintaining an
Open Coalition| Be Open About Expectations: Be honest about what you
expect members to contribute. This can range from
regular attendance at meetings to financial contributions.
The Coalition should decide membership requirements
together with maximum transparency.| Be Flexible: Coalition members will not participate equally
and may have very different contributions. Some
members will take active roles in canvassing or registering
young voters. Others may only wish to donate ?in-kind?
support ? meeting space, an article in a newsletter ? or
simply sign an official letter of support or appear on
Coalition letterhead.| Be Respectful: Recognize that in a diverse Coalition, all
community contributions have value, even if it may not be
immediately apparent.
From the
Field . . .
In Little Rock and Oakland in
2002, local Youth Vote
Coalitions became involved in
partisan politics unexpectedly,
due to the actions and
statements of individual
members who supported
specific candidates and ballot
propositions. The Coordinators
were able to explain the
separation of individual
member goals from the broad
and nonpartisan Youth Vote
Coalition goals. While all local
2002 Youth Vote Coalitions
attempted in good faith to seek
diversity, feedback indicated an
ongoing need to cultivate new
relationships around the
common ground of increasing
all youth voter turnout.
Planning
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Now that you?ve formed a Coalition, what next?
When the Youth Vote Coalition has been active for six months to one year, consider holding a formal
planning exercise with all members. Whether the Coalition finds funding for an official
retreat or holds a planning session at a Coalition member?s house, hire an outside facilitator to
assist your Coalition in forming a common plan and vision.1
Plan an annual retreat when everyone will be available. Youth Vote sites have found that the first quarter
?January through March?is often the best time to bring members together. The Coalition will have several
months to plan for fall elections, and will be able to plan yearly activities with partners that follow a
school semester schedule. Most school and university partners will best be able to participate in the fall if
they have begun to plan activities with the Coalition in the spring.
Lesson Three: Use Research to Set Coalition Priorities
When developing an annual plan, Coalition members need to decide where to concentrate time, energy,
and other resources. Which activities will the Coalition pursue year round? What short-term activities can
the Coalition do to increase voter outreach for an upcoming election? Existing research and local Coalition
research can help with these decisions. Before starting any voter mobilization campaign, thoroughly
research your community. Know local demographics and voting statistics. Recruit members to represent the
diversity of your community.
In general, research has found that person-toperson
contact has the greatest effect on mobilizing
young voters. Passive media tactics2 (such
as TV advertisements, posters, or newspaper editorials)
are useful for building name recognition,
but they will not turn out very many undecided
voters. Use the most effective tactics?tabling,
phoning, and canvassing?to reach young voters
(see the ?campaign? section for more information
on effective tactics).
Finally, invite researchers from a local college,
university, or research consulting organization
to evaluate the Coalition?s work. A well
designed evaluation can help in future planning
?why spend resources on tactics that don?t
work well??and the results can be used in
fundraising. Evaluation is most successful when
researchers are involved in the campaign planning
process and can integrate a research design
seamlessly into Coalition efforts.
9
From the Field . . .
The St. Louis and Des Moines
Youth Vote Coalitions each
decided to approach student
service-learning offices at local
colleges and universities,
hoping that students would be
able to volunteer for course
credit. The Coalition
coordinators learned late in the
summer that most service
clubs had already agreed on
fall service partnerships by the
end of the previous school year
? a lesson that will go in the
next year?s annual planning
timetable. In addition, consider
approaching Political Science,
Government, Public Affairs,
and Sociology departments
that may be interested in
lending student labor to
evaluate the data your
Coalition has collected. Best Practice: Items to Include on an
Annual Planning Meeting Agenda| A summary of previous achievements.| A run down of ongoing programs.| A Coalition Plan ? including goals and strategies
for implementing specific campaign(s) (youth
voter registration, education, and mobilization
activities for the upcoming election cycle).| An annual calendar.| A budget that covers each item on the Coalition
Plan.| A discussion of the mission statement: is it still
relevant? Does it fit the current Coalition goals
and plans?| A record of any changes or additions to
informal or formal administrative structures.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
10
Lesson Four: Plan Ongoing Goals, Add Specific Campaign(s)
The Coalition annual calendar should address two major programs: ongoing civic education goals and specific
upcoming election campaign(s). Both programs should express the Coalition mission.
For example, the Coalition may work with the local school system every year once a week during the
spring semester to talk about political participation and to register high school seniors. The Coalition can
best decide ongoing civic education goals in collaboration with schools and elected officials. Cultivate the
Coalition?s reputation as the organization to turn to when civic education is discussed in the community.
In addition, this particular year the Coalition may decide to organize a specific three-month voter registration,
education, and mobilization campaign around a school board election in May, or perhaps the mayoral
race in November, or campaigns for both.3 Elections increase interest in voting and can be a motivating
factor for young voters.4
Remember, it took many years for youth voting turnout to decline to current levels, and it will take time
to change the institutions that have contributed to that decline. The Coalition should plan to exist and interact
with their community for a long time, recognizing that people?s voting habits will change over the course
of many elections, as trust in the electoral system of government is rebuilt. While national elections get the
most attention, local elections?for school board, city or county councils, regulatory boards, and judges?
often have turnout in the single digits. The Coalition can use local elections to show young voters the impact
voting can have on local policy.
Lesson Five: Develop a Comprehensive Campaign
A comprehensive campaign design includes grassroots strategies5 and a media plan. A Youth Vote campaign
has four phases: youth voter registration, education, mobilization and ?get out the vote? (GOTV) on
Election Day. Each phase requires careful
planning, and is fully discussed in
?The Campaign? section.
Campaign research shows a ?comprehensive
campaign? is more effective
than one-dimensional approaches.
When discussing these strategies with
the Coalition consider the following
points.| Person-to-person contact is the most
persuasive.| A grassroots approach alone is not as
effective as grassroots or door-todoor
efforts supported by
earned/free or paid media messages
and forums/debates.| Combining approaches will produce
the most effective Coalition voter
outreach campaign.
Any media plan should complement
the Coalition?s campaign, helping to
deliver campaign messages and build
Planning
From the
Field . . .
The Ann Arbor Youth
Vote Coalition was eager
to work with the
University of Michigan to
register students in 2002,
as the campus held the
highest concentration of
young people within the
field site. However, it
became clear that an
even closer collaboration
would have been
possible if the University
had been involved from
the start in gathering
and analyzing the data.
In fact, several sites are
making the 2002 data
sets available to local
Political Science and
Sociology professors and
students.
Consider the following when developing an
earned/free media plan for the Coalition or
for a specific campaign.| Let local TV affiliates know that you have articulate
young people on hand who are involved in local elections.| Create photo opportunities with elected officials.| Follow up by distributing press clips or video to Coalition
members and local schools.| Draft a Coalition ?Youth Vote Pitch? for your Media
Coordinator and key players to make to reporters and
journalists. Explain the history of Youth Vote, why the
local Youth Vote Coalition was created, the national and
local scope of the current project, the research behind
Youth Vote approaches and methods, and some local
success stories.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
11 Planning
Civic Education and Voter Education
Voter Education
Takes place continually Generally takes place in relation to a specific election
May involve improved election conditions before the next
election cycle
Includes a combination of information and explanation for
citizen voters
May involve aspects of voter education as a specific election approaches Information
includes statements of fact
Refers to an ongoing social dialogue about broad concepts of democratic society
and citizen participation
May take place in schools, university systems, non-formal education locations, and
in partnership with many civil society organizations6 and/or the state| The official date of elections| The location of polling places| Identification and registration
requirements| The process of voting
Explanation
of basic information includes| The roles, rights, and
responsibilities of voters| Why voting is important| How voting determines the
composition of citizen
representative units of government7
Civic Education
name recognition for the Coalition among potential voters and volunteers. Youth Vote sites found that while
a large paid media campaign was not effective, locally developed media materials such as posters and
brochures were helpful. With a little creativity, youth volunteers, in-kind donations, and the right contacts,8
media costs can be kept to a minimum. Earned/free media coverage is key.9
It is very helpful to designate a specific Media Coordinator?hopefully someone with experience and contacts
?to take on media tasks. Youth Vote Coalitions have found that the Coalition Coordinator will not have
the time or expertise to interact with the media to the maximum extent possible.
Lesson Six: Create an Annual Calendar
The Coalition will face deadlines and restrictions: plan for them. At the annual planning meeting, the
Coalition should develop and agree to a yearly timeline that assigns responsibility for different tasks.10 The
calendar should be a local creation and should reflect ongoing civic education programs and specific campaign
plans. An election timeline should be developed that includes the election cycle and all pre-election
work needed to prepare for Election Day activities. The calendar must take into account Coalition members?
events and schedules, particularly during the academic year.
In Youth Vote experience, roles and responsibilities should be as clearly defined as possible. Tasks and
schedules should be discussed with the entire Coalition. All Coalition members should be able to identify the
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
12
responsible party for each task. Assign backup individuals to the most important tasks, to ensure a chain of
command is in place. Experience shows that when more Coalition members know about the basics, the
Coalition is in a better position to survive a personal emergency or other change of plans.
Lesson Seven: Plan the Budget as a Coalition
Budget issues featured in the feedback from twelve out of twelve local Youth Vote Coalitions in 2002, and
were one of the greatest challenges to Coalition work. Being aware of the tensions that are caused by budget
issues will help Coalition members deal with those issues as they arise.
Youth Vote has found that budget transparency is one key to running a successful campaign. Coalition
members and staff can find it hard to take responsibility for outcomes when they are not given clear budget
limits and trusted to use that budget appropriately. In addition, it is generally not a good idea for one person
to handle all the funds. During the planning phase the Coalition should agree to a procedure for creating
accountability among members.11
Planning
From the
Field . . .
Several 2002 Youth Vote
Coalition sites learned the hard
way to involve a back up for all
financials when, in the
inevitable chaos of the final
weeks of the campaign, some
bills were not paid on time.
Other Youth Vote Coalitions
learned that hiring part-time
temporary staff for canvassing
and phoning can be difficult ?
all staff should be hired
through a Coalition member
organization with experience in
completing W-9 forms, and all
payment procedures should be
fully planned and understood
by the entire Coalition before
the first temporary worker is
hired. If canvassers are told
they will be paid on Friday,
they must be paid on Friday
if you expect them to canvass
for you the next week.
Budget Lessons Learned| Be open about those Coalition goals that will
require funds, and design any program requiring
funding cooperatively as a Coalition.| Designate early who/which organizations will be
paid to do what, and how much they will be
paid. Do this with as much openness as possible.| Agree on a formal procedure for distributing
funds to Coalition members.| Be sensitive to member needs regarding
confidentiality of their funding sources and
resources.| Respect Coalition members? time as a financial
donation.| As much as possible and appropriate, delegate
?line item? and program responsibility to the
Coalition members responsible for those
program components. For example, the member
who will order food for volunteers should have a
set monthly budget limit, rather than have to get
approval for each pizza.| Establish procedures that ensure financial
commitments are kept and payments are
made on time.| Create a Budget Committee to monitor
the budget and increase group
accountability.| Fundraise creatively, and record all ?inkind?
donations. The Coalition may have
raised more funds than you think ? which
will indicate community support to new
potential donors.| Eventually, the Coalition may wish to
incorporate as a nonprofit entity. Please
see Resources under ?Coalition Building?
to find local consultants to assist the
Coalition in this decision.
The Campaign
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
The Coalition is formed, the plan is set, what next? Following is a summary of effective strategies for
carrying out a Youth Vote campaign.
Community Outreach Strategies
?Grassroots Methods? use voters to motivate and influence potential voters by communicating with their
peers in familiar settings. To use grassroots methods, a campaign must first ask: Who is the audience? Where
is that audience? How will this campaign reach them?
As mentioned in the ?Planning? section, a comprehensive campaign that combines earned/free or paid
media coverage with grassroots methods is the most effective way to reach young voters. Interactive personto-
person contact is more persuasive than less personal, more passive approaches.
The most effective grassroots methods include tabling, phoning, and canvassing (going door-to-door to
talk with your target audience). Methods that are less effective, especially with youth, include direct mail,
literature drops (and other passive distribution such as posters and door-hangers), email campaigns, and
certain types of professional phone banks run by telemarketers. Always remember the key to GOTV youth
outreach is personal contact.
How to Reach Voters with Voters
Many organizations waste resources trying to contact a target audience door-to-door without doing any
research. This is especially true after voter registration has closed. Do not spend precious time the week
before the election asking young people,
who haven?t registered, to vote. Young
voters are generally more transient, and
less likely to keep the same phone number
and address year to year. Accurate
census data or voter roll lists are helpful,
but not always available or correct for
this audience.
The campaign can take creative measures
to overcome this obstacle by conducting
its own ?census? of potential voters.
It is important to realize that this
?census? must be assembled early in the
campaign. Local community groups may
have already collected data on youth
through an asset-mapping exercise,
where students or groups map community
resources and their locations.
13
From the Field . . .
Events
The Denver Youth Vote Coalition
was able to develop good
partnerships with outside groups
to implement voter education
events, particularly debates and
forums. The partner groups took
care of all site logistics and event
volunteer recruitment while the
Youth Vote Coalition Coordinator
focused on the areas in which the
Coalition had more experience ?
the mobilization campaign
through phone banking and
canvassing.
The Des Moines and Little Rock
Youth Vote Coalitions developed
creative and memorable voter
education materials locally ?
based on a national poll of youth
attitudes conducted by Youth
Vote in the summer of 2002. The
St. Louis Youth Vote Coalition
had created so much interest in
participation in the final days of
the campaign that they were able
to send out only experienced
canvassers. Newer volunteers
worked the phones.
The campaign will include four phases:
Voter Registration, Education, Mobilization,
and Election Day/Get Out the Vote (GOTV).
Tabling is an effective way to conduct voter registration and
education. However, without further contact only a small
percentage of young registered voters will turn out on Election
Day. During the initial phase the Coalition should build a
database of contact information, using Census and voter file
data, and should enter new voters and track targeted voters.1 In
the final three to four weeks before the election, the Coalition
can use this database to phone and canvass to continue to
educate and begin to mobilize voters. Youth Vote Coalition
experience shows that a nonpartisan ?remember to vote?
message from a peer is the most effective method to increase
youth turnout. Finally, the Coalition should assist youth to get
to the polls on Election Day with transportation and reminder
phone calls and postcards.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
14
Campaign Phase One: Voter Registration
(Until Voter Registration Closes)
?Tabling? involves displaying information about voting in an accessible spot, generally through a partnership
with a local business or institution. Usually a couple of Coalition volunteers or staff set up a table?at a barber
shop, in a school/college cafeteria, in the line for a nightclub, at a car wash, at a fair or festival, in a church,
temple, mosque, at other important community locations?in short, any place Coalition members can reach
the target audience.
Tabling can be done year round, but will generate more interest and register more voters closer to a specific
election. Tabling is inexpensive and does not take much advance preparation. It will build name recognition for
the Coalition and will create a database of registered voters to be contacted later in the campaign. However,
research shows that tabling and voter registration alone will not increase turnout of specific voters: when allocating
resources remember that handing out a lot of brochures does not equal higher voter turnout.
What should your volunteers do when they table? The more personalized the outreach, the more mobilizing
it will be. Give visitors to your table something to do while they are there. Gather as much contact information
as you can, including email addresses, so the Coalition can remind people to vote later!
Events
Carefully consider Youth Vote events and media contacts in the context of Coalition programs and goals.
All local Coalitions in 2002 found that the time and expense of organizing events, which have a low mobilizing
effect on young voters, drew staff and resources away from more effective methods. Try to utilize
Coalition members to ?tag along? to already planned events?and be careful to maintain the Coalition?s nonpartisan
reputation. Be creative. There are few events where voter registration is inappropriate.
Campaign Phase Two:
Voter Education
(Six Weeks to Election Day)
Remember?the more interactive the campaign
the more successful it will be at mobilizing voters.
The Coalition needs materials to give away at tables
and doors. At Youth Vote, voter education is simultaneous
with registration and mobilization and
includes creating and distributing local materials
with information about how to vote and explanations
of why you should vote.2 When time and funds
permit, materials should be designed locally and
tested thoroughly before being used by the
Coalition. Test ?typical? knowledge and develop
materials to address knowledge gaps.
Use youth to reach youth! Voters are more
likely to remember innovative and creative campaign
messages. Collaborate with local teachers
on a project to design posters and flyers. Consider
creating an inexpensive website to post voting
information, frequently asked questions, and contact
information for potential volunteers. Locally
designed materials are often more effective than
The Campaign
Tabling Best Practices| Establish regular locations with regular
hours where people can expect to find
voting information.| Set up in high traffic areas where people will
have time and space to stop.| Table in pairs ? one volunteer should stay at
the table and distribute materials, and the
other can work the crowd and direct people
to the table.| Give away gifts such as coffee, stickers, and
posters that will attract people to your table.
Free hot chocolate on a cold October day
has been found very effective. Remember, in
the U.S. no one is allowed to give away
something of monetary value for voter
registration or proof of voting. If you give
something away, everyone who stops at the
table must be eligible, whether they register
to vote or not.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
15
national GOTV materials, and can usually be created quickly and inexpensively. Be sure to contact local
literacy, disabled, and alternative language3/immigrant advocates for guidelines on effective materials
for those audiences.
Testing messages, wording, style, and format is important in grassroots operations; campaign research
shows that how something is said is as important as what is said. Think of the campaign as a long training
session for your volunteers to develop the Youth Vote message. The most mobilizing contacts will be made in
the last week before the election, so plan to use the most experienced volunteers in the final stage?they
will be best able to convey the message.
Recruiting Volunteers
Some 2002 Youth Vote local Coalitions were run entirely by volunteers.4 Others paid canvassers, professional
phone banks, and a management team. In the context of a Youth Vote campaign, working with young
volunteers to reach young potential voters is essential. Whether using paid staff or volunteers, the following
applied in all sites.
Many high schools and colleges have implemented service-learning requirements. Work with Coalition
members to make early contact with these programs, and seek advice on making the volunteer experience
enjoyable and popular. High school and younger students also make enthusiastic volunteers. When working
with younger volunteers make arrangements for their safety and supervision. Many religious groups require
youth service, and religious associations may assist you in placing volunteer opportunities on community
boards or in newsletters.
Do not overlook community service requirements,
including those for juvenile offenders. Several 2002 local
Coalitions gave community service hours to volunteers to
meet legal requirements?with very positive experiences
for supervisors, other volunteers, and the ex-offenders
themselves.5
Campaign Phase Three: Voter
Mobilization
(Begins Four Weeks Before the
Election, Intensifies in the Last Two
Weeks Until the Last Weekend)
The Coalition has registered thousands of new voters
and created an up-to-date contact database of eighteen
to thirty year old potential voters. Now what? Run a
phone bank and canvass house-to-house to ask residents
to vote on Election Day.
Using the database, print out phone lists of names and
phone numbers for a phone bank of volunteers to call. To
create walk lists for canvassing volunteers to visit, sort
the database by address and match the lists against a
walk map.6 The worksheets for volunteers should include
columns to record ?contact,? ?not home/no answer,? ?go
away,? ?moved,? and so on.
Maintain a database of youth that have been contacted.
The database will help you re-contact voters at a
The Campaign
Tabling Activities| Register voters! Make sure to keep a
copy of voter registration forms for
Coalition records. Remember: If you
take voter registration forms, you
must hand them in to the election
office!| Get visitors to sign a ?pledge to vote?
or a petition supporting Youth Vote.7| Ask people to self-address a reminder
postcard, which you will mail to them
the week before the election.
Remember: If you provide postcards
to self address you must mail them!| Interview newly registered voters for a
news article (you can post it on your
website or submit it to the local
paper). Take a poll or a survey and
display a running tally at the table.| Answer questions, and hand out
information on local election issues.
Make sure the information is
nonpartisan and gives the pros and
cons of any issue!8
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
16
later date. As young voters are highly mobile, no other list may exist with such current information for the
next year?s voter education campaign.
Assign a person to enter data daily. Be sure to clarify Coalition rules about each organization?s use of the
collective data, and determine whether the list can be used by organizations outside of a Youth Vote campaign.
Consider developing a privacy policy.
Phone Bank
When volunteers call as many voters in the area as possible using multiple phone lines from one place it
is called a phone bank. Phoning tends to be one of the least expensive methods to achieve one-on-one interaction
with large numbers of citizens in a short period of time. While a professional-sounding telemarketer
can have little effect on voter turnout, local volunteers using personalized messages, or professionals with a
carefully developed script and good training can increase the likelihood that a young person will vote by
three to five percentage points.9 Training is essential.
Canvass
Canvassing is a time-honored organizing tactic in which a group of volunteers or staff knocks on doors
and talks to potential voters about the importance of voting. Research shows that one-on-one canvassing is
the most effective mobilizing technique, increasing the likelihood of voting by as much as ten to twelve percentage
points.10 Of course, in rural or less secure areas, door-to-door canvassing can be impractical, and your
Coalition may need to consider creative alternatives.
Canvassing is rewarding to volunteers who enjoy group activities, getting to know local neighborhoods,
and talking to people about something that really concerns them. Overall, Youth Vote canvassers find people
very receptive and welcoming. People seem to appreciate the positive, nonpartisan, and un-intrusive Youth
Vote message.
Other Methods:
The methods above are not interactive, and are not recommended for the final weeks of the campaign
when they will divert resources from the more effective methods mentioned above. Without person-to-person
interaction, young people who have not decided to vote are unlikely to be mobilized. If used at all, the
following methods should only provide information
about registering to vote, voting locations and dates
during the education phase.
Events
Events should not be planned for the final weeks of
the campaign. Volunteers and Coalition members may
plan to attend other organizations? election events to
represent Youth Vote, but should focus on the effective
mobilization methods presented before.
Literature Drops
Literature drops refers to placing flyers, door
hangers, posters, and handouts in public areas. Costs
for literature drops depend on the quality and quantity
of materials being produced. Because it is a passive
method of reaching voters, it is unlikely that literature
drops will have a strong mobilizing effect.
The Campaign
Prepare Voters for Election Day| What are typical misconceptions?| What needs to be known about the
election process and voter?s rights?| What ID is required/accepted?| Where are the polls?| What is the process? Can you get a
sample ballot?| What is likely to intimidate a first time
voter?| What are ?standard? reasons that keep
youth from voting? These might include
difficulty finding transportation, not
enough information, too busy, not feeling
safe at the polls, and so on.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
17
Direct Mail and Brochures
Flyers, letters, and brochures that are mailed
to private residences through direct mail are
expensive and one of the least effective methods
of mobilizing new voters. It is more effective to distribute
brochures while tabling or canvassing,
when volunteers can interact with potential young
voters.
Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are a new method of reaching
voters and political donors. However, while many
young people use email extensively with each
other, it is not clear that email alone is an effective
method in mobilizing young voters. Although the
research at this stage is not conclusive, young people
are highly familiar with mass email that is very
impersonal, or tries to appear personal when it is
not (such as SPAM). In fact, mass email sent by a
campaign may be blocked by SPAM filters. Any
email campaign should attempt to create an
atmosphere of direct contact that is so important
in mobilizing young voters.
Media Campaigns
Youth Vote Coalition has found that the time
and expense of mounting any kind of media campaign
would be better spent recruiting more volunteers
to contact voters in person. Public Service
Announcements (PSAs) for TV or radio are expensive
to produce and distribute, and no quantitative
research to date has clearly demonstrated the
impact of a media campaign on voter turnout
rates.15 However, the campaign Media Coordinator
should continue to pursue earned/free media coverage
such as letters to the editor, opinion pieces,
and TV and radio coverage of the campaign.12
Internet
A website, included on Coalition printed materials,
is an inexpensive way to help volunteers and
voters learn about the Coalition campaign. Keep
the website up-to-date in the final stages of the
campaign so that volunteers and supporters can
attend your events.
The Campaign
From the
Field . . .
Portland, Oregon and
Minneapolis/St. Paul in
Minnesota had different
voter mobilization
campaigns from other
local 2002 Youth Vote
Coalitions. Oregon is a
?vote by mail? state,
where all registered
voters receive ballots
and return them through
the mail rather than
voting at a polling booth.
The Oregon Youth Vote
mobilization campaign
placed special ballot
mailboxes on campuses
and assisted young
people who had not
received ballots to
change their official
address information and
vote. Minnesota has
same-day registration, so
the St. Paul Youth Vote
Coalition used the final
weeks before election to
plan transportation to
bring young people, with
their correct
identification, to the
polls to register and
vote.
Tips for Canvassers| Canvass in pairs and stay within sight of each
other.| Bring a cell phone if possible, or enough
change for a phone call.| Clipboards MUST include safety guidelines
and emergency phone number(s) for shift
supervisors.
Tips for Supervisors| The organization coordinating the canvassing
must agree to provide a supervisor who will
be available by phone whenever volunteer or
paid canvassers are in the field.| Train new canvassers using role-play17 for 20-
30 minutes before their first shift. Be sure the
canvassers understand the walk list format
and their route.| The supervisor must check in canvassers at
the beginning and end of each shift. Do a head
count ? the number coming in should match
the number that went out!| Check that canvass walk lists have been filled
out correctly. Make sure you can understand
what the canvasser has written.
Phone Banking| Usually phone bank volunteers will be more
productive and enjoy the activity more if the
phone lines are in a central location.
Supervisors will be able to oversee their work
and answer any questions.| Plan 15-30 minutes of training for new
volunteers before their first phone bank shift
begins. Include role-play.| Provide volunteers with a sample script.16| Seek donations of food and good coffee, and
give out t-shirts and stickers to build volunteer
identity with your campaign.| In 2002 the Oakland Youth Vote Coalition used
member volunteers with cell phones to phone
bank with free evening and weekend minutes.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
18
Campaign Phase Four: Get
Out the Vote (GOTV)
(On Election Day)
Election Day
The Youth Vote Coalition has been planning and
working for months, and now the day is finally
here.
Because timing is crucial, the Coalition and
Coalition Coordinator should collaborate on an
hourly schedule to distribute resources and mobilize
volunteers as effectively as possible. Stick to
the plan, but be as flexible as possible.
Communication is paramount during Election Day.
See if a local mobile phone company can make an
in-kind donation, or if friends of Youth Vote can
donate their cell phone minutes.
Designate an Election Day Coordinator?NOT
the Coalition Coordinator?who will relay vital
messages and stay in one place. Mobilize the volunteers.
Provide volunteers with the Coordinator?s
phone number and have them report in regularly.
If appropriate, hire or borrow vans or buses to
drive young people to the polls. Do whatever you
can to get media coverage of youth voting. The
Election Day Coordinator should have the contact
numbers for election officials, local media, and
local legal advocacy groups in case of irregularities
at the polls.17
After the Election
Hold a volunteer appreciation event as soon as
possible after the campaign?an all-ages party to
watch the election returns is a good idea. Delegate
a volunteer committee to organize this event.
Wrap up all financial obligations and close the
books.
Communicate Coalition successes to the full
Coalition and to all media contacts as soon as possible
after the campaign. Put together a final
report for the Coalition annual meeting in the
spring.
The Campaign
Messages| Negative campaigning is a major reason
young people are ?turned off? by politics.
Research has shown that a ?chiding? tone or a
negative appeal to vote is less effective than a
positive message.8| Many young people volunteer with
organizations that offer them a positive
identification with a larger group and a
chance to improve their community.9| Utilize your Coalition partners to develop a
message that will ?sell? their audiences on
voting.
Keeping Volunteers| Make sure the Coalition experience is fun and
social. Remember, your volunteers are your
best means to gain more volunteers so keep
them interested and engaged. In combination
with tedious work like phoning, give them
more interesting projects like designing flyers
or party planning.| Keep volunteers safe-in the organization
offices, when canvassing, and getting to and
from their volunteer work.| Make sure to create official feedback avenues,
whether through informal supervisor chats or
evaluation sheets at the end of a volunteer
shift.| Consider the campaign a training course for
volunteers. By election week they should be
efficient phone callers and canvassers.
Experienced volunteers will cover the most
ground, get the message across most
effectively, and be the most confident in
handling unexpected challenges.| Recognize outstanding volunteers by
?promoting? them to coordinator positions.| Supervise your volunteers well and make sure
they have enough training to do their jobs
comfortably and with enthusiasm. Create an
atmosphere of togetherness, centered on
participation in Youth Vote.
Lessons Learned
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Interested parties can most effectively organize youth civic education and voter education programs
through a diverse Coalition of partners.
Coalition members can build Coalition capacity to design a specific voter education campaign by designating
a general Coalition Coordinator, a Media Coordinator, and a Coalition Secretary if necessary, and by
holding a facilitated annual planning meeting or retreat.
Coalitions can overcome challenges by:| Planning for both ongoing civic education activities and short-term comprehensive voter outreach campaigns
for specific elections.| Ensuring transparency in program and budget planning.| Actively pursuing diversity.| Keeping records of meetings, agreements, plans, and procedures.
A well-designed youth voter outreach campaign should:
Utilize proven effective outreach strategies as a part of a comprehensive
campaign.| Use peer-to-peer methods of contacting potential voters with voters like tabling, phone banking, and
canvassing.| Use media effectively but not exclusively. Supplement passive outreach methods?like direct mail,
brochures, or mass emails-with more interactive tactics like the methods listed above.| Create voter education materials locally.| Only hold events early in the campaign. ?Tag along? at other organizations? debates and forums.| Include diverse local partners and collaborators from many sectors.| Maintain a nonpartisan reputation.
Agree upon a campaign schedule with interested partners| well in advance of the election (six to twelve months or more).| with enough time to develop and implement a comprehensive plan.| include four phases: voter registration, education, mobilization, and Get Out the Vote (GOTV)/Election
Day.
An election is a dynamic process in which political parties, civic organizations and other institutions
learn the skills necessary to participate actively in the political life of a country. Many resources on voter
education exist, but they are often in the context of partisan campaigning, and frequently, voter education
is seen only as one phase in party or issue-based voter mobilization. Hopefully, this handbook will help existing
and future Youth Vote Coalitions design voter education and campaign strategies that increase youth
political participation and voter turnout.
19
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
20
Endnotes
Foreward
1. ?Decision 2000: Youngest voter?s participation drops,? The Detroit News;
January 13, 2000.
2. ?Youth Voter Turnout has Declined, by Any Measure,? Peter Levine and
Mark Hugo Lopez, CIRCLE, 2002. http://www.civicyouth.org/research/products/
fact_sheets_outside.htm
Introduction
1. Written evaluations were made in December 2002 and follow up interviews
were conducted in May 2003 at four of the twelve sites.
2. For a general guide to voter registration drives, please see Your Vote Your
Voice published annually by the National Association of Independent
Colleges and Universities and available online at www.naicu.edu. For more
information and organization contacts, please see the Resources section at
the end of this handbook.
3. Getting Out the Youth Vote: Results from Randomized Field
Experiments, Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber-Yale University, August 6,
2001; Getting Out the Youth Vote in Local Elections: Results from Six Doorto-
Door Canvassing Experiments, Donald P. Green, Alan S. Gerber and
David W. Nickerson-Yale University, May 18, 2002.
4. Green and Gerber, 2002, p. 23.
5. For up-to-date contact information for the twelve 2002 sites, to join a current
local Youth Vote Coalition, or form a new one, contact Youth Vote
Coalition at www.youthvote.org.
6. See NASS, the National Association of Secretaries of State?s New
Millennium Project. www.nass.org.
Helpful Steps
1. Transparency?openness about policy intentions, formulation and implementation
?is a key element of good governance. . . . Budget transparency
is the full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic
manner. OECD Best Practices for Budget Transparency, 2001
http://www.oecd.org/pdf/M00021000/M00021145.pdf
Forming a Non-Partisan Coalition
1. For more information, strategies, and general know-how on building coalitions
to hold voter registration drives, please see ?Your Vote Your Voice? published
annually by the National Association of Independent Colleges and
Universities, available online at www.naicu.edu. For more general coalition
building information, please see the resources list or contact a local nonprofit
support group in your state or city.
2. NASS, the National Association of Secretaries of State, runs an informative
website with all state contact information. It is important to keep that office
informed of your projects and ways the Secretary may be able to help:
www.nass.org.
3. For more information please see the Resources section ?Local Legal.?
4. The local League of Women Voters www.lwv.org is often a good source of
information on current poll procedures and working with local election officials.
5. See Appendix A for a sample agenda.
6. Try www.yahoogroups.com or ask the most technologically proficient
member of your coalition for help.
7. Please see the ?Planning? section for more suggestions on the media coordinator?s
role.
8 ?The institution, if located in a State to which section 4(b) of the National
Voter Registration Act (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-2(b)) does not apply, will make a
good faith effort to distribute a mail voter registration form, requested and
received from the State, to each student enrolled in a degree or certificate
program and physically in attendance at the institution, and to make such
forms widely available to students at the institution? Higher Education Act
Sec. 487(a)(23).
9. Clearly partisan voter outreach campaigns fall under separate IRS and
local laws. Even ?nonpartisan? issue advocacy campaigns may alienate some
potential Coalition members who feel differently about that issue. If in
doubt, find all the legal information possible and create a broadly acceptable
mission. Remember that the youth audience responds well to nonpartisan
voting outreach messages, and that the long term goals of a Youth Vote
Coalition are to increase all youth voter turnout, for which the Coalition will
need diverse partners.
10. For more information on the difference between a mission (a broad
statement of objectives) and goals (specific and measurable objectives)
please see Resources under ?Coalition Building.?
11. For more information, strategies, and general know-how on building
Coalitions to mobilize youth voters, please see chapter one of ?Your Vote Your
Voice? published annually by the National Association of Independent
Colleges and Universities, available online at www.naicu.edu.
12. Strategies and methods are discussed in the Campaign section.
13. For more information on appealing to parties and candidates to reach
out to youth voters, see the campaign for Young Voters website at www.campaignyoungvoters.
org.
Planning
1. Many sources of funding are available to strengthen local community
Coalitions. Talk to a local or statewide nonprofit association, and ask about
?capacity building,? ?visioning,? and ?facilitated retreat.? Coalition members
should be able to assist in researching and applying for funding.
Alternatively, a low cost retreat or Coalition-planning meeting can be held
at someone?s house with a potluck or donated lunch. Be creative and utilize
your Coalition member organizations and individuals.
2. Youth Vote uses the term ?passive media? to include, in decreasing order
of expense: TV, radio, direct mail, posters, brochures/flyers, email/internet
?any passive, paid means of reaching an audience. Earned/free media
includes articles, letters to the editor, editorials, and press coverage of your
activities, events, and the ?Youth Vote story.?
3. A sample annual calendar is included as Appendix B.
4. For more information about involving students in local elections, contact
the Student Voices program at the Annenberg Center at the University of
Pennsylvania www.student-voices.org (under Resources).
5. Strategies that use voters to motivate and influence potential voters by
communicating with their peers in familiar settings.
6. Civil Society is the sphere of private, nonprofit oganizations that express
community beliefs and values through service provision and advocacy and
contribute to collective goods and services. For a full discussion please see
Independent Sector http://independensector.org/ under Resources.
7. http://www.aceproject.org/main/english/ve/vea.htm The Administration
and Cost of Elections (ACE) Electronic Publication represents the first-ever
attempt to provide a globally accessible information resource on election
Endnotes
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
21
administration. The project partners are the International Foundation for
Election Systems, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral
Assistance, and the United Nations Department of Economic and social
Affairs.
8. See Media Plans under Resources.
9. Earned/free media includes articles, letters to the editor, editorials, and
press coverage of your activities, events, and the ?Youth Vote story.?
10. An example can be found in Appendix B.
11. For more information on handling budgets see Resources under
Planning.
The Campaign
1. Data from the most recent US Census can be found on the website
www.census.gov-along with contact information for learning to download
files and suggested mapping software. However, people in the 18-30 age
group move frequently and may not reside at their permanent address. Local
election officials can provide voter file data on request or for a small fee.
This public database lists registered voters and their voting history, though
each state and county may restrict access according to local law?usually to
keep this data from being used for commercial purposes. Because youth are
transient and registered at lower numbers, voter file lists may be inaccurate
for this population. For these reasons many campaigns focus in addition on
registering new voters and assisting voters to update their address information,
thus creating a more accurate and current database than either the
census or local voter file.
2. See ?Planning? section, civic education and voter education.
3. ?Alternative languages? is used throughout this text to indicate languages
required by section 203 of the Voting Rights Act (see Resources, particularly
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)) and other
required languages such as Braille.
4. Many great resources exist on volunteer recruitment and management?
please check with local nonprofit agencies or associations, or check your
local library. Also try www.volunteermatch.org, www.idealist.org, www.servenet.
org, your local United Way or other volunteer match services.
5. See Ex-Offenders under Resources.
6. See Appendix D for samples.
7. For a sample pledge to vote sheet see Appendix C.
8. For nonpartisan voter guides see Resources, particularly the League of
Women Voters and Project Vote Smart.
9. ?Getting Out the Youth Vote: Results from Randomized Field Experiments?
Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber-Yale University, August 6, 2001; ?Getting
Out the Youth Vote in Local Elections: Results from Six Door-to-Door
Canvassing Experiments? Donald P. Green, Alan S. Gerber and David W.
Nickerson-Yale University, May 18, 2002.
10. ?Getting Out the Youth Vote: Results from Randomized Field
Experiments? Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber-Yale University, August 6,
2001; ?Getting Out the Youth Vote in Local Elections: Results from Six Doorto-
Door Canvassing Experiments? Donald P. Green, Alan S. Gerber and David
W. Nickerson-Yale University, May 18, 2002.
11. Donald P. Green, Yale University, personal conversation. The Yale
University Institute for Social and Policy Studies and CIRCLE research will
report on media effectiveness in 2004.
12. See the ?Coalition Building? section. For more information on earned/free
media see ?Media Plan? under Resources.
13. See Appendix D: Sample Phone and Walk Script.
14. See Appendix D: Sample Phone and Walk Script.
15. The International Federation of Election Systems (IFES) has been asked
to monitor the 2004 US general elections for the first time. IFES will be
training election monitors using techniques developed to ensure free and
fair elections internationally for 25 years. For more information please contact
IFES (under Resources). For more information on voting rights legal
resources on Election Day see Resources.
16. Nationwide survey of 18?24 year olds, Youth vote coalition, Lake Snell
Perry/Bellwether Research, July 2002.
17. Youth Service America http://www.ysa.org/nysd/statistics.html.
Endnotes
Selected Resources
*Full description appears at first mention only.
Youth Vote Board Organizations
ACORN Institute, Inc http://www.acorn.org is the nation?s largest community
organization of low-and moderate-income families, with over 100,000
member families organized into 500 neighborhood chapters in 40 cities
across the country.
Black Youth Vote/NCBCP http://www.bigvote.org/byv is an initiative of the
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Inc. The program focuses on
14?29 year olds and seeks to empower black youth by educating youth about the
political process and training youth to identify issues and influence public policy
through participation.
Center for Environmental Citizenship http://www.envirocitizen.org is a nonpartisan
organization dedicated to educating, training and organizing a diverse
network of young leaders to protect the environment.
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund
http://www.civilrights.org/about/lccref/ is an independent, non-profit, taxexempt,
research organization established to support educational activities relevant
to civil rights, and a sister organization to the Leadership Conference on
Civil Rights.
Leadership Institute: Campus Leadership Program
http://www.leadershipinstitute.org a division of the Leadership Institute, fosters
permanent, effective, independent conservative student organizations on
college campuses across America. Trained field representatives go to college
campuses to identify and recruit student leaders who create, build and oversee
organizations on each campus.
League of Women Voters Education Fund
http://www.lwv.org/ is a non-partisan political organization that promotes the
active, engaged, and informed participation of all citizens in the democratic
process. This charitable trust was established in 1957 to enhance the work of its
sister organization, The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS),
established in 1920.
National Council of La Raza http://www.nclr.org/ is the largest Latino civil
rights organization in the nation, serving all Hispanic nationality groups
throughout the country. Established in 1968, the NCLR aims to reduce poverty
and discrimination, and to improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans
Organization of Chinese Americans http://www.ocanatl.org/ is a national,
nonprofit, nonpartisan civil rights advocacy organization for Asian Pacific
Americans. It was founded in 1973 and is dedicated to securing the rights of
Chinese American and Asian Pacific American citizens and permanent residents
and promoting active participation of Chinese and Asian Americans in both civic
and national matters.
Rock the Vote http://action.rockthevote.org was founded in 1990 by members of
the recording industry in response to a wave of attacks on freedom of speech
and artistic statement. In less than a decade, Rock the Vote has become a leader
in the effort to increase youth participation in the political process. Today, the
campaign is dedicated to protecting the freedom of statement and helping
young people realize and utilize their power to affect change in the civic and
political lives of their communities
Student PIRGs http://www.studentpirgs.org/ are independent state-based student
organizations that work to solve public interest problems related to the
environment, consumer protection, and government reform.
Third Millennium http://www.thirdmil.org/ a national Generation X nonpartisan,
nonprofit advocacy group, was launched in 1993 by young adults to offer
solutions to long-term problems facing the United States. Their goal is to redirect
the country?s attention from the next election cycle to the next generational
cycle, and so inspire young adults to action. In 2000, Third Millennium?s
?Neglection 2000?? project is an effort to help develop strategically viable political
strategies for campaigns that reach out to young adults.
US Student Association http://www.usstudents.org/main.asp is the oldest and
largest student organization and represents millions of students across the
country. Formed in 1947, it serves as the student voice on Capitol Hill, the White
House, and in the Department of Education. By organizing powerful grass roots
forces of students, the USSA is committed to increasing access to higher education
and encouraging students to participate in government on behalf of their
educational rights.
Youth Service America http://www.ysa.org/ Service Vote 2004 is Youth Service
America?s national campaign to mobilize youth volunteers to vote. This campaign
encourages full civic engagement of youth connecting their unprecedented
involvement in community service with the political process. Second,
Service Vote provides opportunities for the candidates to clearly define their
vision and ideas for increasing the involvement of young people in national and
community service. Youth Service America is the premiere alliance of hundreds
of organizations committed to community and national service.
Coalition Building, Organizational
Development
Local Nonprofit partners: see http://www.idealist.org for organization lists by
state. Search by city, county, or topic, i.e. ?voting? and/or ?youth?.
For a list of state nonprofit associations: The National Council of Nonprofit
Associations (NCNA) http://www.ncna.org/ is a network of 39 state and regional
associations of nonprofits in 36 states. State associations are membership-based,
with membership open to nonprofit organizations in their state or region.
BoardSource http://www.boardsource.org/ (formerly the National Center for
Nonprofit Boards) is the premier resource for practical information, tools and
best practices, training, and leadership development for board members of nonprofit
organizations worldwide. Through highly acclaimed programs and services,
BoardSource enables organizations to fulfill their missions by helping build
strong and effective nonprofit boards.
The Community Leadership Foundation http://www.communityleadership.
org/ enhances the capacity of community leadership programs to
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
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YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
23 Selected Resources
strengthen and serve their communities. Leadership development of our members is
encouraged and supported in a variety of ways: innovative programming, peer-to-peer
networking, industry insight and resources, staff access and more.
The Foundation Center http://fdncenter.org/ Founded in 1956, the Center is the
nation?s leading authority on philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers,
grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.
Independent Sector http://www.independentsector.org/ America?s ?Independent
Sector? is a diverse collection of more than one million charitable, educational, religious,
health, and social welfare organizations. It is these groups that create, nuture,
and sustain the values that frame American life and strengthen democracy.
Kettering Foundation http://www.kettering.org/index.html The central question
behind the foundation?s research now is this: What does it take to make democracy
work as it should? Rather than look for ways to improve on politics as usual, we are
seeking ways to make fundamental changes in how democratic politics are practiced.
Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Drucker Foundation) http://www.pfdf.org/
serves as a broker of intellectual capital, bringing together the finest thought leaders,
consultants, and authors in the world with the leaders of social sector voluntary organizations.
By providing intellectual resources to leaders in the business, government,
and social sectors, and by fostering partnerships across these sectors, the Leader to
Leader Institute works to strengthen social sector leaders of the United States and of
nations around the globe.
Planning, Budgeting, and Accountability
The Center for Environmental Citizenship Summer Training Academy and
Training Tour
http://www.envirocitizen.org/training_tour.html offers training in Political Skills
(Lobbying, Vote Environment Campaigns, Power Mapping, Voter Registration, Voter
Education, Get Out the Vote) Skills to Strengthen your Group (Start Your Own Group,
Recruitment, Retention, & Leadership Development, Persuasive Speaking, Coalition
Building, Event Organizing, Fear No Fundraising, Campus Tactics, Media & Message,
Online Organizing) Personal/Group Development (Leadership Styles) and ?Big Picture
Stuff? (Developing a Strategy, Developing a Message, Avenues for Social Change).
The Leadership Institute http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/02TRAINING/training.
htm is the oldest and most-respected training organization for conservative leaders
at the local, state and national levels. Over the years, more than 31,000 of today?s
conservative ?movers and shakers? have turned to the Leadership Institute for their
training needs. Training includes Broadcast Journalism, Campaign Leadership,
Candidate Development, Capitol Hill Staff, Capitol Hill Writing, Grassroots, Internet
Leadership, Public Relations, Public Speaking, Student Publications, Television
Techniques, and Youth Leadership.
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU): Your
Vote, Your Voice National Campus Voter Registration Project Organizing Handbook
http://www.naicu.edu is the gold standard of voter registration drive organizing,
aimed at young people and their partners. Despite the academic title, this handbook is
useful to any community working to register voters.
The New Light Leadership Coalition Youth Leadership Development Workbook
http://www.nllc.org/bookstore.html is a year-round resource for emerging youth leaders.
It addresses issues such as conflict resolution, working with people, budget management,
goal setting, networking, personal development, and the principles of leadership
to name a few. The Youth Leadership Development Workbook is a comprehensive
guide to youth who wish to prepare themselves for leadership.
Youth Service America: Project Plan-it! http://www.ysa.org/planit/ is YSA?s electronic
project planning tool to help young people develop a custom plan for their service
project. Project Plan-It! uses an interactive series of questions and templates that
guide the user through the project planning process, and allows them to print out
their plan, timeline, budget, funding proposal, press release, service-learning reflection
plan, and other helpful resources. In addition, check out the YSA Tip Sheets:
http://www.ysa.org/tip_sheet/tip_sheet.cfm To help organizations and individuals, YSA
developed a series of tip sheets on various topics ranging from ?How to Fundraise for
Your National Youth Service Day Project? to ?How to Recruit Volunteers? to ?How to
Build Strong Youth/Adult Partnerships.? The tip sheets are short, useful bits of information
that program directors and young people can easily use to strengthen their
program?s effectiveness, sustainability and scale. Youth Service America will continually
add new tip sheets in this section.
Media Plans
The Alliance for Better Campaigns http://www.bettercampaigns.org/ is a public
interest group that seeks to improve elections by promoting campaigns in which the
most useful information reaches the greatest number of citizens in the most engaging
ways. ABC advocates for free broadcast air time for candidates and for other reforms
that reduce the cost and increase the flow of political communication; that open up
the political process to more competition; and that facilitate and encourage voter participation.
The Foundation Center http://fdncenter.org/
The Leadership Institute
http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/02TRAINING/training.htm
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU): Your
Vote, Your Voice National Campus Voter Registration Project Organizing Handbook
http://www.naicu.edu
Youth Service America Tip Sheets: http://www.ysa.org/tip_sheet/tip_sheet.cfm
Research: University Centers and Think
Tanks
The Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University
http://www.american.edu/internationalaffairs/cdem/ maintains that ?Election
management? is one of the least studied subjects in political science. Indeed, when
political scientists analyze elections, they generally think about polling, politics,
parties, and constitutional design. The study of the administration of elections is
critical in developing countries because accidents often occur at the intersection
between administrative incapacity and suspicion among the political parties.
DEMOS http://www.demos-usa.org/ is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy
research and advocacy organization based in New York City. Demos is committed to
a long-term effort to reframe and redesign policy and politics to meet the complex
challenges of the 21st century, and seeks to bring everyone into the life of American
democracy and to achieve a broadly shared prosperity characterized by greater
opportunity and less disparity. The Demos website has numerous papers and journals
on democracy and democratic electoral reform, and has an extensive list of
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) resources and studies.
The Institute for Politics Democracy and the Internet http://www.democracyonline.
org/ at the George Washington University Graduate School for Political
Management believes that there is room in the exceptionally malleable and decentralized
multimedia environment referred to as ?the Internet? for a variety of politi-
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
24 Selected Resources
cal voices to be heard, and for a profusion of political entities (parties, interest
groups, personal followings) to coexist. The Graduate School of Political
Management (GSPM) http://www.gwu.edu/~gspm prepares students for participation
in democratic politics, encouraging critical thinking and providing them with
the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in professional careers in applied
politics. The GSPM also seeks to advance professionalism in politics by assisting the
careers of its alumni, by generating knowledge in the field, by lauding appropriate
professional conduct so as to promote ethics and professional standards, and by
advancing awareness of democratic values and traditions of fair play.
Harvard University Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of
Government http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/iop/, was created as a living memorial to
President John F. Kennedy, to inspire undergraduate students to enter careers in
politics and public service, and to promote greater understanding and cooperation
between the academic community and the political world. The website includes surveys
of youth political attitudes and lecture/event schedule.
Independent Sector http://www.independentsector.org/ America?s ?Independent
Sector? is a diverse collection of more than one million charitable, educational, religious,
health, and social welfare organizations. It is these groups that create,
nuture, and sustain the values that frame American life and strengthen democracy.
The League of Women Voters? E-library http://www.lwv.org/elibrary/index.html
features publications, historical documents and video archives of the League of
Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS)-the national League membership and
political action organization-and the League of Women Voters Education Fund
(LWVEF)-a citizen education and research organization. On this website you can
find League publications on Election Reform, Campaign Finance Reform, Social
Policy, Voter Information and much more. Most of the Leagues publications are
available, in their entirety, on the site. Other publications are available for purchase
through the League.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
(CIRCLE) http://www.civicyouth.org/ at the University of Maryland?s School of
Public Affairs promotes research on the civic and political engagement of
Americans between the ages of 15 and 25. Although CIRCLE conducts and funds
research, not practice, the projects that we support have practical implications for
those who work to increase young people?s engagement in politics and civic life.
CIRCLE is also a clearinghouse for relevant information and scholarship.
The Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan
http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/ emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to
problem solving, drawing on the methodologies of several disciplines that enable
students to appreciate the complexity of public issues and their solutions.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania
http://www.appcpenn.org/ conducts ongoing evaluations of the quality of contemporary
political discourse and has become a leading authority on political campaigns,
advertising and speeches. Polls and issue papers are available on a number of political
topics including political communications, the Internet, and women and leadership.
The Student Voices program http://student-voices.org/ encourages the civic
engagement of young people by bringing the study of a local political campaign into
the classroom. Working with school systems throughout the country, the project
helps high school students study the issues and candidates in their city?s mayoral
campaign.
The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University http://www.eagleton.rutgers.
edu/ explores state and national politics through research, education, and public
service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. Eagleton convenes
conferences and other forums for the general public. In addition, Eagleton
undertakes projects to enhance political understanding and involvement, often in
collaboration with politicians, government agencies, the media, non-profit groups,
and other academic institutions.
The University of Virginia?s Center for Politics http://www.centerforpolitics.org/
promotes the value of politics and seeks to improve civic education and increase
civic participation through comprehensive research, pragmatic analysis, and innovative
educational programs. The Youth Leadership Initiative involves public and private
schools from across the country in technology-based civics education projects
and resources located on the YLI website at www.youthleadership.net.
Approximately a quarter of a million students have participated since its inception
as a pilot project in 1999.
The Crystal Ball http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/ maintains a complete
website analyzing the races and candidates for President, Senate, House and
Governor, updated frequently as the election draws nearer. The Crystal Ball was created
as much for political junkies as for students; as such, there are a slew of other
resources for academics and educators. The CB Classroom includes a ?tips and suggestions?
section for students researching political campaigns. Plus, in order to help
teachers bring the CB to students, the Center?s Youth Leadership Initiative created
several lesson plans that complement the Crystal Ball. The Crystal Ball also has various
charts, maps, and essays on topics ranging from the key factors in presidential
elections to the history of midterm elections.
University of Washington Center for American Politics and Public Policy
http://depts.washington.edu/ampol/ is a focal point for the study of politics and policy
processes in the United States. On this site, you will find extensive information
about past and current research projects, available datasets, and teaching programs
and tools.
Yale University Institution of Social and Policy Studies
http://www.yale.edu/isps/ strives to facilitate interdisciplinary inquiry in the social
sciences and research into important public policy arenas. Voter mobilization experiment
reports and publications can be found at http://www.yale.edu/isps/publications/
voter.html
Research: Preparing a Campaign
The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC)
http://www.theaapc.org/ is a bipartisan organization of political professionals.
Association membership consists of political consultants, media consultants, pollsters,
campaign managers, corporate public affairs officers, professors, fund-raisers, lobbyists,
congressional staffers and vendors and is open to everyone associated with politics
from the local level to the White House.
Campaign Training Programs
ACORN http://acorn.org/getinvolved/training.html works with the American
Institute for Social Justice (AISJ or The Institute) to provide training programs
designed for groups which are struggling to build and mobilize a constituency for
change needed to transform poor communities. AISJ can work with your group to help
get more community people involved in your organization. Training and technical
assistance on community organizing is available for groups or organizations through
the Institute. The Institute was created to educate and assist organizations serving
low-and moderate-income neighborhoods (including CDC?s, human service organizations,
union locals, and coalitions) with community organizing skills and strategies.
ACORN offices are located nationwide.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
25 Selected Resources
The Center for Environmental Citizenship Summer Training Academy and Training
Tour http://www.envirocitizen.org/training_tour.html
Democracy Action Project http://www.democracysummer.org, a coalition of civil
rights, election reform and activist groups, sponsors Democracy Summer, a weeklong
event for young people committed to bettering our democracy. Democracy Summer
gives young people from all over the country the skills and knowledge necessary to be
a true pro-democracy activist. The program includes electoral justice issues, civil
rights, campaign finance laws, ballot access, and disenfranchisement; trainings in
grassroots organizing, media work, lobbying, event planning and coalition building,
and action.
The Leadership Institute http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/02TRAINING/training.
htm
Student PIRGS http://www.uspirg.org/uspirgeducationfund.htm
The United States Student Association (USSA) http://www.usstudents.org/foundation/
Working with Elected Officials
The Campaign for Young Voters http://www.campaignyoungvoters.org/ assists
candidates for public office in their efforts to reach out and engage younger voters.
Drawing on extensive field research concerning young adults? views about politics,
elections and government, CYV publishes a Toolkit and suggested campaign practices
and materials to assist candidates at all levels in dealing with young adults about
political participation and voting.
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) http://www.nass.org/ is
the oldest professional, nonpartisan organization of public officials in the United
States. The association leads the debate on improving voter registration processes,
increasing government services available over the Internet and promoting election
reform policies at the state and national levels. In addition to election reform, the secretaries
of state promote ideas and programs that will encourage citizens to register,
vote and volunteer their time on Election Day. The Vote America nationwide outreach
campaign seeks to improve the quality of the elections process for all
involved. Moreover, NASS members have targeted programs that will increase young
people?s awareness of the democratic process. As part of this effort, the New
Millennium Project was initiated in 1999 with a study on the voting behaviors of the
nation?s youth. The New Millennium Project continues in its second phase as the
secretaries work to engage younger voters in the electoral process through the use
of youth-friendly initiatives, and by seeking non-traditional locations to offer voter
registration resources to this age group. The NASS website lists contact information
for every state?s Secretary of State office.
Youth Service America Tip Sheets: http://www.ysa.org/tip_sheet/tip_sheet.cfm
Voting Advocacy and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002
Arsalyn Project http://www.arsalyn.org is a non-partisan program of the Ludwick
Family Foundation dedicated to promoting youth civic and political engagement.
Arsalyn offers technical assistance, peer exchanges, civic education, online
resources, conferences and special projects to young people and organizations dedicated
to promoting youth civic and political engagement. To further this end we
attempt: to foster among young citizens an appreciation of the value of each citizen?s
informed vote to the maintenance of true democracy in a representative government;
and to encourage participation in the voting process as a right, a responsibility
and an opportunity. Arsalyn is firmly committed to providing a non-partisan,
non-issue-based forum to promote inclusiveness and participation for all.
Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD) http://www.fairvote.org/ is dedicated to
fair elections where every vote counts and all voters are represented. As a catalyst
for reform, CVD conducts research, analysis, education and advocacy to build understanding
of and support for more democratic voting systems. CVD promotes full representation
as an alternative to winner-take-all elections and instant runoff voting
as an alternative to plurality elections and traditional runoff elections. The CVD
website is an archive of voting reform research and reports in the past decade, and
includes an online library.
Cato Institute http://www.cato.org/research/crg/elections.html is named for Cato?s
Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation
for the American Revolution. The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters
of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles
of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that
goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned
lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.
DEMOS http://www.demos-usa.org/
Electionline.org http://www.electionline.org produced by the Election Reform
Information Project at the University of Richmond, is the nation?s only non-partisan,
non-advocacy website providing up-to-the-minute news and analysis on election
reform. Electionline.org is the first stop on the Internet for any election reform
information you?re seeking. Among the site?s features: Data: A reference guide to the
field of elections, including laws and regulations, information on state and local
election administration, and commentary on how it all fits together to form the current
state of elections in America. News: A source for the latest on election reform,
including reports on legislation, litigation, commission/task force reports, and commentary
on the ?state of play? on election reform. Analysis: A look beyond current
practice and current events toward new ideas on election reform, including reports
on research, best practices, opinion surveys, and commentary on how the election
reform issue might change in the future. Up to date information on states? compliance
with Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and other election reform reports, surveys,
and resources.
International Federation of Election Systems (IFES)
http://www.ifes.org/new_initiatives/US_elections.htm IFES provides expertise in:
Election administration and training, Civil and voter registry development and technology
management, Mapping and redistricting strategies, Drafting and reviewing
electoral codes, Voter and civic education, Building associations of election officials,
Fostering participation of historically disadvantaged groups and people with disabilities,
Adjudication of election disputes, Election observation, Campaign techniques,
Political finance review, Capacity building and professional development of election
officials. IFES has compiled Help America Vote Act (HAVA) resources and election
reports on the St. Louis and Miami 2002 elections at http://www.ifes.org/new_initiatives/
US_elections.htm
League of Women Voters Education Fund http://www.lwv.org/
The ?Help America Vote Act of 2002? (HAVA) impacts every part of the voting
process, from voting machines to provisional ballots, from voter registration to poll
worker training. This introduction http://www.lwv.org/where/promoting/votingrights_
hava_recom.html is designed to assist citizen activists, concerned organizations,
and government officials in implementing the new law in ways that will
ensure the enfranchisement of all eligible citizens and encourage efficient administrative
practices. Concerned citizens should contact the League of Women Voters for
further information.
National Association of County recorders, Election Officials and Clerks
(NACRC) http://www.nacrc.org/ is a professional organization of elected and
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26 Selected Resources
appointed county administrative officials, and the largest affiliate of the National
Association of County Officers (NACO) http://www.naco.org, whose Expand
Democracy in America campaign will help improve the nation?s election system by
getting more Americans to work at the polls and by broadening voter education. The
campaign, undertaken in response to the weaknesses revealed in the November
2000 election, has two parts: ?Work at the Polls? and ?Voting is Easy.?
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) http://www.nass.org/
National Conference of State Legislatures http://www.ncsl.org/programs/legman/
elect/taskfc/elecreflinks.htm was founded in 1975 with the conviction that legislative
service is one of democracy?s worthiest pursuits. Representing the citizens
of a district and the people of a state is the very essence of free government. NCSL
is recognized as the pre-eminent bipartisan organization dedicated to serving the
lawmakers and staffs of the nation?s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. It
is recognized nationally for its leadership. With a focus on service, NCSL is a source
for research, publications, consulting assistance, meetings and seminars. This website
includes comprehensive links to electoral reform.
Project Vote http://www.projectvote.org/ registers, educates, and mobilizes lowincome
and minority citizens to vote. Project Vote?s mission is focused on building
voter registration, education, and mobilization networks. Project Vote mobilizes new
and infrequent voters around issues that are important to their families and communities,
thus giving previous non-voters a reason to vote. The increasing presence at
the polls of low-income and minority voters continues to make a difference year
after year.
Voting Reference Resources
Federal Election Commission http://www.fec.gov/ administers and enforces the
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)-the statute that governs the financing of federal
elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are
to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as
the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of
Presidential elections.
Library of Congress Thomas Legislative Information on the Internet
http://thomas.loc.gov/ includes searchable databases such as Bill Text, Congressional
Record Text, Bill Summary & Status, the Congressional Record Index, and the
Constitution (now found, along with other historical Congressional documents, under
the ?Historical Documents? category on the THOMAS home page).
US Census http://www.census.gov/ (for voting data. See http://www.census.gov/population/
www/socdemo/voting.html) collects information on reported voting and registration
by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics is collected for
the nation in November of congressional and presidential election years in the
Current Population Survey (CPS). Projections of the voting-age population by age,
race, Hispanic origin, and gender derived from administrative data are also produced
every other year in anticipation of the elections.
Campaign Finance Issues
Common Cause http://www.commoncause.org/ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen?s
lobbying organization promoting open, honest and accountable government.
Supported by the dues and contributions of over 250,000 members in every state
across the nation, Common Cause represents the unified voice of the people against
corruption in government and big money special interests.
Democracy Matters http://www.democracymatters.org/ informs and engages college
students and communities in efforts to strengthen our democracy. With campusbased
chapters throughout the country, Democracy Matters focus on the issue of private
money in politics and other pro-democracy reforms. Democracy Matters in this
way encourages the emergence of a new generation of reform-minded leaders.
Federal Election Commission http://www.fec.gov/ administers and enforces the
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)-the statute that governs the financing of federal
elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are
to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as
the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of
Presidential elections.
Founded in 1994, the National Voting Rights Institute http://www.nvri.org/ is a
prominent legal center in the campaign finance reform field. Through litigation and
public education, the Institute aims to redefine the issue of private money in public
elections as the nation?s newest voting rights barrier, and to vindicate the constitutional
right of all citizens, regardless of their economic status, to participate in the
electoral process on an equal and meaningful basis.
Local legal
Secretary of State for your state: The National Association of Secretaries of
State (NASS) http://www.nass.org/
County Voting Information: National Association of County Recorders,
Election Officials and Clerks (NACRC) http://www.nacrc.org/ is a professional
organization of elected and appointed county administrative officials, and the largest
affiliate of the National Association of County Officers (NACO) http://www.naco.org.
City Clerk Many city elections are administered by county officials, but city clerks
may also administer elections and hold database records. There is no national association
of city clerks, but many belong to the International Association of Clerks,
Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers (IACREOT)
http://www.iacreot.com/ which is a forum for the free exchange of information, resulting
in improved standards for serving the public. Professionalism in public service,
openness, and good fellowship are goals of the organization. Members are governmental
officials whose responsibilities fall into one of four areas-finance, land records,
courts, and elections. Each of the four areas is a specific division with its own director
and education programs.
National League of Cities (NCL) http://www.nlc.org/nlc_org/site/ is the oldest and
largest national organization representing municipal governments throughout the
United States. Its mission is to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity,
leadership, and governance. Working in partnership with 49 state municipal
leagues, NLC serves as a national resource to and an advocate for the more than
18,000 cities, villages, and towns it represents. Website includes a list of all state
leagues and NCL groups.
Department of Justice http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm The Voting Section is
an office within the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice charged with
enforcement of federal voting right statutes. The Voting Section conducts administrative
review of voting practices and procedures and undertakes investigations and litigation
throughout the United States and its territories. National Youth Courts
http://www.youthcourt.net (NYCC) at the American Probation and Parole Association
(APPA) serves as a central point of contact for youth court programs across the
nation. NYCC serves as an information clearinghouse, provide training and technical
assistance, and develop resource materials on how to develop and enhance youth
court programs in the United States.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
http://www.tolerance.org/dig_deeper/dtl/index.html Everyday citizens?those who
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
27 Selected Resources
are most harmed by poorly created voting districts?can become the driving force
behind the redistricting process. Don?t let legislators and political parties determine
your voting strength. Created in partnership with the Southern Regional
Council, Drawing the Line explains the redistricting process and provides tools and
techniques that can help you become a force for equity in your community, in your
state and in the nation.
People for the American Way (PFAW) http://www.pfaw.org was established to
meet the challenges of discord and fragmentation with an affirmation of ?the
American Way.? By this, we mean pluralism, individuality, freedom of thought,
expression and religion, a sense of community, and tolerance and compassion for
others. People For the American Way reaches out to all Americans to affirm that in
our society, the individual still matters; that there is reason to believe in the futurenot
to despair of it-and that we must strengthen the common cords that connect us
as humans and citizens. The Election Protection (EP) Project is a non-partisan,
coalition effort with a simple goal: no more Floridas. EP works to make sure that
every eligible voter casts a ballot that counts on Election Day. PFAW Foundation and
our partner organizations aren?t seeking post-election promises, excuses or law
suits. We want same-day solutions to voting problems so that no voter is denied his
or her right to vote-and we?re ready and willing to make it happen ourselves.
Election Day
International Federation of Election Systems (IFES)
http://www.ifes.org/new_initiatives/US_elections.htm
Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law http://www.lawyerscomm.org/
was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private
bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal
mission of the Lawyers? Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice
under law. The Committee?s major objective is to use the skills and resources of
the bar to obtain equal opportunity for minorities by addressing factors that contribute
to racial justice and economic opportunity. The Lawyers? Committee?s primary
focus is to represent the interest of African Americans in particular, other
racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so
can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund
http://www.civilrights.org/about/lccref/ The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Education Fund (LCCR/EF) is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt, research
organization established to support educational activities relevant to civil rights,
and a sister organization to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
http://www.napalc.org/programs/votingrights/index.html works to eliminate discriminatory
barriers to the participation of Asian Pacific Americans in our nation?s political
process. This includes working to enforce the protection of the Voting Rights Act,
encouraging voter registration through enforcement of the National Voter Registration
Act, and providing analysis of Asian American electoral participation through exit
polling. NAPALC and its Affiliates have worked to support policies that remove barriers
to voting, such as defending the bilingual assistance provisions of the Voting Rights
Act and the National Voter Registration Act against congressional proposals to repeal
these laws.
People for the American Way (PFAW) http://www.pfaw.org. The Election
Protection (EP) Project
US Department of Justice http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm
Minority Voting Rights Resources
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
http://www.aclu.org/VotingRights/VotingRightsMain.cfm ?Our constitutional democracy
rests on certain core principles,? says the ACLU?s Nadine Strossen. ?Every vote
should be counted accurately, every vote should be counted equally, and no one should
be denied the right to vote based on the color of his or her skin.?
Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/index.htm
Women
The Carrie Chapman Catt Center at the Iowa State University
http://www.iastate.edu/~cccatt/ provides leadership development and educational
opportunities for women and men interested in politics, public policy and administration,
and public service through programs blending the resources and scholarship of
the academic environment with the actual experiences of individuals in the public and
private sectors.
The Center for American Women in Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at
Rutgers University http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~cawp/ - the website includes fact
sheets on women in politics including state by state data and scholarly work on the
gender gap in voting patterns and elected representation.
African American
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies http://www.jointcenter.org/
areas of study include politics and elections, social issues, economic policy issues, and
international affairs. Through its research, its access to black leaders, and its consensus-
building activities, the Joint Center has demonstrated for over a quarter of a century
that blacks are a major force in the political arena.
NAACP Voter Education Project
http://www.naacp.org/work/voter/voting_rights.shtml is the nation?s oldest and
largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout
the United States and the world are premier advocates for civil rights in their communities
and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. Working with
youth leaders, organizers and activists from all segments of the community, established
national grassroots organizations, and individuals committed to community
empowerment, NAACP Youth and College Division Voter Empowerment Program seeks
to channel the energy of young African Americans between the ages of 18?30 in a positive
direction to impact public policy affecting Black youth.
Operation Big Vote http://www.bigvote.org/obv.htm is one of the largest and most
successful voter participation programs in the nation. The primary goals of OPERATION
BIG VOTE (OBV) are to: increase black registration and turnout, educate black
voters in ways to make their elected officials more responsive, and promote empowerment
of African Americans through full voter participation.
The mission of the Rainbow Coalition/PUSH http://www.rainbowpush.org
Citizenship Education Fund Public Policy Institute is to educate and empower citizens
who have not traditionally participated in public policy discussions or decision making.
The Public Policy Institute seeks to increase involvement and commitment to network
building and grassroots political participation by providing seminars and workshops
on public policy issues, and training sessions on voter education, voter
registration, and other issues related to American Democracy and civic participation.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
28 Selected Resources
Southern Regional Council http://www.southerncouncil.org/helpnet/index.html
since its founding in 1919 has engaged Southern communities on issues of democracy
and race: promoting an end to the all-white primary in the 1940s, establishing state
human relations councils to help desegregate Southern schools in the 1950s, and
founding the Voter Education Project, which registered more than two million African
American voters in the 1960s
Latino
ASPIRA http://www.aspira.org/ The ASPIRA Association is an organization that promotes
the empowerment of the Puerto Rican and Latino community. ASPIRA develops
and nurtures the leadership, intellectual, and cultural potential of its youth so that
they may contribute their skills and dedication to the fullest development of the
Puerto Rican and Latino community everywhere. The ASPIRA Association empowers
the Puerto Rican and Latino community through advocacy and the education and
leadership development of its youth.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute http://www.chci.org/ mission is to
develop the next generation of Latino leaders. CHCI seeks to accomplish its mission
by offering educational and leadership development programs, services, and activities
that promote the growth of its participatns as effective professionals and strong leaders.
CHCI?s vision is an educated and civic-minded Latino community who participates
at the local, state, and federal policy decision-making levels.
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
http://www.maldef.org/ is the leading nonprofit Latino litigation, advocacy and educational
outreach institution in the United States. MALDEF?s mission is to foster sound
public policies, laws and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 40 million
Latinos living in the United States and to empower the Latino community to fully participate
in our society.
National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) http://www.naleo.org/
is the leading organization that empowers Latinos to participate fully in the America
political process, from citizenship to public service. NALEO carries out this mission by
developing and implementing programs that promote the integration of Latino immigrants
into American society, developing future leaders among Latino youth, providing
assistance and training to the nation?s Latino elected and appointed officials and by
conducting research on issues important to the Latino population.
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO)
http://www.nalfo.org/ is an umbrella council for Latino Greek Letter Organizations.
NALFO promotes and fosters positive interfraternal relations, communication, and
development of all Latino Fraternal organizations through mutual respect, leadership,
honesty, professionalism and education.
National Council of La Raza (NCLR) http://www.nclr.org/
National Hispana Leadership Institute http://www.nhli.org/ recruits participants
who are diverse, talented and accomplished. It complements and builds upon other
training programs by integrating personal growth with formal courses of study. By
examining how as Hispanics and women they have historically looked at community
issues, they prepare to reach out and build bridges with other groups of society.
SouthWest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) http://www.svrep.org/
is committed to educate Latino communities across the Southwest about the democratic
process, the importance of voter registration, and voter participation. At its core
is its mission to politically empower Latinos by increasing civic engagement in the
American electoral system. This can only be attained through the strengthening and
exercising of the fundamental right to vote. Thus, SVREP?s motto: ?Su Voto Es Su Voz?
(Your Vote is Your Voice).
United States Hispanic Leadership Institute http://www.ushli.com/ With over
185,000 past, present and future leaders participating in our local, regional and
national leadership development programs to date, USHLI leads the nation in the field
of leadership development. USHLI offers programs for high school and college students,
grassroots community leaders, local public officials, and candidates for public office.
Asian-Pacific American
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
http://www.napalc.org/ NAPALC Bilingual Voting Assistance: How to Use the Voting
Rights Act Handbook (Available in Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog,
Vietnamese) This must have handbook provides community leaders and other interested
parties with critical information concerning the implementation of Section 203
of the Voting Rights Act. The handbook reflects the newly covered jurisdictions and
languages under Census 2000.
Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) http://www.ocanatl.org/
Sexual Orientation
Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) http://www.glsen.org is the
leading national organization fighting to end anti-gay bias in K?12 schools. GLSEN
strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and
respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) http://www.hrc.org/ the largest national lesbian
and gay political organization, envisions an America where lesbian and gay people
are ensured of their basic equal rights?and can be open, honest and safe at home,
at work and in the community. HRC has more than 450,000 members, both gay and
non-gay?all committed to making this vision a reality. With a national staff, volunteers
and members throughout the country, HRC: lobbies the federal government on
gay, lesbian and AIDS issues; educates the public; participates in election campaigns;
organizes volunteers; and provides expertise and training at the state and
local level.
National Gay Lesbian Task Force http://www.ngltf.org/ has worked to eliminate
prejudice, violence and injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people
at the local, state and national level since its inception in 1973. As part of a
broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, NGLTF is creating
a world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human statement and identity
where all people may fully participate in society.
Disabled
National Coalition of Students with Disabilities http://www.ncsd.org/ Our organization
is a coalition of collegiate disability rights student groups on campuses
across the nation. We provide free legal advice and assistance to students with disabilities
confronting disability discrimination. In 1999, we won a victory at the
United States Supreme Court which requires public collegiate disability services
offices to provide voter registration on campus and thus makes it easier for students
with disabilities to register to vote.
Current and Ex-Offenders
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
http://www.aclu.org/VotingRights/VotingRightslist.cfm?c=167State by state work to
help ex-offenders navigate through the lengthy and complicated application process of
restoring their voting rights.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
29 Selected Resources
NAACP
http://www.naacp.org/work/voter/reenfranchisement.shtml America?s penal system
is built on the premise that offenders can repay their debt to society and return
as fully rehabilitated individuals. But an estimated 3.9 million Americans, or one in 50
adults, have permanently or currently lost the ability to vote because of a felony conviction.
Permanent disenfranchisement fundamentally negates the principle of rehabilitation.
Rehabilitated individuals enjoy the restoration of every right-except voting.
Because voting is integral to being a productive member of society America should be
encouraging rehabilitated felons to vote, not prohibiting them.
Religious
Interfaith Alliance http://www.interfaithalliance.org is a nonpartisan organization
comprised of people of faith and good will from over 50 faith traditions. Working with
its local Alliances, National Religious Leaders Network, and other collegial organizations,
The Interfaith Alliance promotes informed participation in the electoral process
through its ?Call To a Faithful Decision? program.
Youth Rights, Youth-led Political
Participation Movements
Millennial Politics.com http://www.millennialpolitics.com Millennial Politics.com
is a site dedicated to educating people about youth activism and generational politics.
Millennial Politics.com publishes a weekly newsletter and organizes a clipping
service for articles on youth activism. Millennial Politics organizes ?Coffee and
Politics? meetings and even book clubs in cities across the US and is publishing a
book on youth activism and on Millennial Generation politics.
Mobilizing America?s Youth http://www.m-a-y.org (MAY) is paving the highway to
youth empowerment. MAY is partnering with many organizations across America to
get all youth (ages 18?30) more excited about politics through involving them in the
legislative process. By 2004, MAY will plan and implement the largest mobilization
effort of young adults in recent American history. This national series of events will
mobilize thousands of youth from their hometowns to Washington DC where they
will lobby for a legislative agenda bettering their lives. This agenda will be debated
and voted upon at the National Conference being held April 10?13th, 2003 in
Washington DC. It is time for the future leaders of America to wake-up today and
realize there is no better time than now to begin making history.
National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) http://www.youthrights.org is
America?s largest and most successful youth rights organization. NYRA supports
empowerment and rights for all youth including such issues as lowering the drinking
age, lowering the voting age, repealing curfews, and combating age discrimination.
Party Y http://www.party-y.org/ is a coalition of young American leaders (all in
their 20s) who joined together in 2002 to launch a new independent political youth
party dedicated to meeting the needs of America?s under-30 population. Not a traditional
?third party?, we are instead a web/media-based ?virtual party? designed to
link up young voters with equally young political candidates (all under-30) around
the country. ?All-partisan? in nature, Party Y does not adhere to any single political
philosophy and welcomes all young Americans under the age of 30 (no matter what
their political affiliation) as party members and aspiring political candidates.
Reform America, Inc. http://www.reformamericainc.org (RAI) has been formed
with the purpose of developing the leadership skills of young Americans while
engaging the young people of America in a drive towards reforming the voting systems
and other entrenched but undemocratic institutional procedures in United
States. RAI is determined to show the country that America?s youth are ready to
make a difference where it counts.
Third Millennium http://www.thirdmil.org/, a national Generation X nonpartisan,
nonprofit advocacy group, was launched in 1993 by young adults to offer solutions to
long-term problems facing the United States. Their goal is to redirect the country?s
attention from the next election cycle to the next generational cycle, and so inspire
young adults to action. In 2000, Third Millennium?s ?Neglection 2000?? project is an
effort to help develop strategically viable political strategies for campaigns that
reach out to young adults.
Students/Curriculum
Local resources - For your local state Board of Education standards, see the
Federal Department of Education http://www.ed.gov/, which includes state and
local resource links at
http://www.ed.gov/topics/topicsTier2.jsp?type=t&top=Education+Resources&...
p=State+%26+local
Campus Compact http://www.compact.org
Constitutional Rights Foundation http://www.crf-usa.org/ is a non-profit, nonpartisan,
community-based organization dedicated to educating America?s young
people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society. Under
the guidance of a Board of Directors chosen from the worlds of law, business, government,
education, the media, and the community, CRF develops, produces, and
distributes programs and materials to teachers, students, and public-minded citizens
all across the nation.
Freedom?s Answer http://www.freedomsanswer.net/faculty.curriculum.shtml The
Freedom?s Answer curriculum presents a short but thorough course on the history
and process of voting in America. The curriculum provides educators with a wide
range of lesson options: four in-depth lesson topics from the Center for Civic
Education, five lesson plans from Newspapers in Education and four lesson concepts
from Kids Voting USA and five Youth Leadership Initiative lessons. The
curriculum assists educators in utilizing Freedom?s Answer as a meaningful service/
experiential learning project with classroom instruction.
Kids Voting USA http://www.kidsvotingusa.org/ gives young people knowledge,
tools and motivation for democratic living as part of their basic education. Sutdents
also take part in an authentic voting experience that mirrors the official voting
process. Kids Voting USA?s acclaimed curricula includes: Civics Alive!, the K?12 core
curriculum, and Destination Democracy, a high school service-learning curriculum
that connects community service projects with the political process.
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU): Your
Vote, Your Voice National Campus Voter Registration Project Organizing Handbook
http://www.naicu.edu
Project 540 http://www.project540.org gives 100,000 students nationwide the opportunity
to talk about issues that matter to them and to turn these conversations into
real school and community change. Project Leaders can access the leadership area
for project guides, important updates, and ways to keep in touch. Participating students
from around the country can join the National Dialogue online to talk about
their Civic Action Plans and share thoughts about the project. To learn about our
schools, see the map of project sites.
Student PIRGs http://www.studentpirgs.org/
The Student Voices program http://student-voices.org/ at the Annenberg Center for
Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania encourages the civic engagement of
young people by bringing the study of a local political campaign into the classroom.
Working with school systems throughout the country, the project helps high school
students study the issues and candidates in their city?s mayoral campaign.
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
30 Selected Resources
Take Your Kids to Vote http://www.takeyourkidstovote.org/ How can parents play
a role in increasing voter turnout in future elections? Here?s one answer: On
Election Day, Take Your Kids to Vote! That is the message from the Council for
Excellence in Government?s Partnership for Trust in Government, a collective of 34
leading organizations from industry, labor, civic, nonprofit and media organizations
that works to rebuild public respect and confidence in government. The National
PTA and Kids Voting USA are also participating as organizing partners.
US Student Association http://www.usstudents.org/main.asp
The Youth Leadership Initiative at the University of Virginia?s Center for Politics
involves public and private schools from across the country in technology-based
civics education projects and resources located on the YLI website at www.youthleadership.
net.
Running for Office
The Campaign for Young Voters http://www.campaignyoungvoters.org/
Leadership Institute: Campus Leadership Program http://www.leadershipinstitute.
org
Party Y http://www.party-y.org/
Democracy Advocacy Training/Summer Programs
Bert Corona Leadership Institute http://www.bcli.info/ is a premiere leadership
institute for migrant and immigrant populations across the United States, and in the
Americas. Special emphasis is placed on youth, civic participation, citizenship, and
the political process. The Experience in Democracy Leadership Program provides
migrant and immigrant participants, youths and adults, the opportunity to experience
and gain a better understanding of the internal workings of the United States
government, its agencies, labor, and business organizations that directly affect their
communities.
The Center for Environmental Citizenship Campus Leadership Summits
http://www.envirocitizen.org are student-run gatherings that focus on training students
& their campus groups in campaign skills, providing issue briefings on pressing
regional issues, networking students to each other and to resources, and much more.
The Close Up Foundation http://www.closeup.org, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization,
informs, inspires, and empowers people to exercise the rights and accept the
responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Close Up connects individuals of all ages
to their communities and institutions through challenging educational programs
and products. By building partnerships with the education community, the private
and philanthropic sectors, and all branches and levels of government, we make civic
participation a dynamic and meaningful experience.
Democracy Action Project http://www.democracysummer.org, a coalition of civil
rights, election reform and activist groups, sponsors Democracy Summer, a weeklong
event for young people committed to bettering our democracy. Democracy
Summer gives young people from all over the country the skills and knowledge necessary
to be a true pro-democracy activist. The program includes electoral justice
issues, civil rights, campaign finance laws, ballot access, and disenfranchisement;
trainings in grassroots organizing, media work, lobbying, event planning and coalition
building; and action.
Political Party Youth Groups
Campus Green Parties http://www.greenparty.org/campus.html Thanks to the
candidacy of Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke, thousands of college students
across the country have become engaged and invigorated with electoral politics
and with the possibility of helping to build a real progressive third party in the
United States. Along with various campus green parties, over 900 ?Students For
Nader/LaDuke? groups were formed on college campuses to organize the student
movement for political reform. The energy, enthusiasm and force created by thousands
of students is being channeled into a national organization of campus green
parties. The Campus Greens will exist as a network of college green parties around
the country that will advance the need for electoral reform, work on issue campaigns
together, host speakers and trainers on different campuses and promote
green ideals on every campus.
College Democrats of America http://www.collegedems.org In order to promote a
better America, with equality, opportunity, and freedom within a just and strong
society, we dedicate ourselves to organizing the participation of democratic college
students across the nation. As college students, we call for action based on principles
and for principles backed by action. As Democrats, we pledge ourselves to continue
the great thoughts of our Party and to bring forth new ideas to keep the tradition
alive. As citizens of today and leaders of the future, we shall strive to shape
our party, communities, states, and nation. In this mission, we call for full participation
without regard to sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, physical handicap,
socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. Understanding the importance of participation
in the Democratic Party to the preservation of our values and principles,
we pledge to organize and activate the latent people power of our nation?s
Democratic students to further the philosophy of the Democratic Party.
College Libertarians http://www.lp.org furthers the mission of the Libertarian
Party: ?Libertarians seek a return to the basic principles that made America great.
We support an unfettered free market economy as the best way to provide abundance
and prosperity for all. We defend America?s traditional civil liberties and personal
freedoms as the foundation of a tolerant society. We endorse a foreign policy
of non-intervention, peace, and free trade as prescribed by America?s Founding
Fathers.?
College Republican National Committee http://www.crnconline.org is the
nation?s largest, and oldest, Republican student organization. Founded more than
100 years ago, College Republicans have played a vital role in recruiting, educating,
and involving many students each year in the Republican Party.
The Young Democrats of America http://www.yda.org (YDA) has been the official
youth arm of the Democratic Party since 1932. Open to anyone under the age
of 36 who affiliates with the Democratic Party, YDA is a nationwide grassroots
organization with 42chartered states and 780 local chapters. Our 43,000 plus membership
reflects the broad diversity of our nation and the Democratic Party. This
includes high school students, college students, young workers, young professionals
and young families. All of the members have the interest of their community at
heart and work hard to affect the democratic process.
Young Republicans Online Community Network http://www.yrock.com Today?s
Young Republicans are young professionals between the ages of 18 and 40, who
belong to a nationwide network of like-minded individuals. As the nation?s oldest
and largest youth political society, Young Republicans enjoy a highly regarded reputation
for the work done on campaigns, local events, and holding offices themselves.
Young Republicans work hand in hand with other members of the
Republican Party to continue the growth and development of Republicans throughout
the country, as well as their respective communities.
Appendix A:
Sample First Meeting Agenda
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Date, Meeting Host Contact Information
AGENDA
I. Welcome
II. Introductions: name, organization, and current voting
programs/past experience
III. National Youth Vote Coalition: History & Goals
IV. Youth Vote Coalition Research & Methods
V. 2003-2004 Ideas for Initiatives: upcoming election dates, issues,
and plans
VI. Resolutions: Local Youth Vote Mission and meeting schedule
VII. Nominations/Elections:
Coalition Coordinator, Secretary, Media Coordinator
VIII. Next Steps?
31
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday General Activities Week from
Election
Quarter
January 1 2 3 4 Quarter 1 Activities: Hold Annual
Retreat/Planning Session. Work with
school systems and secondary education
institutions (universities, colleges,
and community colleges) to carry out
continuous civic education. Contact
research institutions about evaluation
planning. Register age eligible high
school seniors, conduct voting how-to.
Conduct classroom programs/voter education.
Table. Contact city/county officials
about fall programs, begin planning
for fall programs and events. Build press
contacts. Build Coalition.
Quarter 1
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Annual
Retreat
19 Annual
Retreat
20 21 22 23 24 25
February 26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 Coalition
Meeting
14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
March 23 24 25 26 27 28 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 Coalition
Meeting
14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
April 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 Quarter 2 Activities: Update research
and plan accordingly. Where are potential
voters? How will this campaign reach
them? When does voter registration
close (if applicable)? Form alliances and
recruit new coalition members. With
school-focused groups, plan fall activities
and key supporters. Ongoing voter
registration and education programs in
schools and summer school programs
(consider using demonstration voting
machines). Work with summer employment
programs for youth. Inform
research institutions of fall activities and
collaboration potential. Plan, design, test
voter education materials (flyers,
brochures, posters, website development)
and media placement (if part of
annual plan). Keep monthly totals of
newly registered voters, develop competitions
between members, school clubs,
fraternities, etc to register the most new
voters.
30 Quarter 2
6 7 8 9 10 Coalition
Meeting
11 12 29
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 28
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
May 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 26
School Year
Ends
4 5 6 7 8 Coalition
Meeting
9 10 25
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 24
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 23
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 School semister
voter registration
goal:??
22
June 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 21
Summer
School
Sessions
8 9 10 11 12 Coalition
Meeting
13 14 20
15 16 17 18 19 20 21 19
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Monthly voter
registration goal
??
18
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
32
Appendix B: Sample Yearly Calendar
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Appendix B 33
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday General Activities Week before
Election
Quarter
July 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 Quarter 3 Activites: Voter identification
and education phase. Put research on
potential voters in place, refining phone
bank and canvassing plans. Plan with
Coalition to reach audiences. Together,
make challenging but realistic voter registration
goals for members and keep
weekly and monthly totals updates. All
coalition members should be aware of
how the campaign is doing. Make a chart
to track voter registration, and track on a
map of your community as well. Plan
tabling schedule for fall - recruit members
and volunteers, and contact officials and
partners for permission. Use local nonpartisan
voter guides for information.
Registered voters can pledge to vote or
self address a post card to remember to
vote. Develop paperwork/reporting goals
and tracking procedures.
17 Quarter 3
6 7 8 9 10 Coalition
Meeting
11 12 16
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 15
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Monthly voter
registration goal:
??
14
August 27 28 29 30 31 1 CAMPAIGN
BEGINS
Phase 1: Voter
identification
and education
2 Contact media
re: Kick Off
Event(s)
Media contacts, planning for Kick Off
Event (If having a Kick Off Event)
13
Many people
take
vacations,
plan
accordingly
for meetings
and press
events
3 4 Contact media
re: Kick Off
Event(s)
5 Contact media
re: Kick Off
Event(s)
6 Contact media
re: Kick Off
Event(s)
7 Contact media
re: Kick Off
Event(s)
8 Contact
media re: Kick
Off Event(s)
9 Contact media 12
10 11 Send out Press
Release for Kick
Off Event
12 Follow up with
media about Kick
Off Event. Check
in with participants,
staff.
13 Campaign
Kick Off Event
14 Coalition
Meeting: discuss
event and
upcoming planning
15 16 August voter
registration goal:
150?? Volunteer
recruitment
goal??
Kick Off Event 11
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Voter registration
event: local
tabling
Tabling and voter registration. Refine
paperwork/reporting goals and tracking
procedures. Doing a little paperwork
every week will save time later, and help
the coalition coordinator make a timely
report to the full coalition on the accomplishments
of the campaign. Keeping
weekly numbers will also motivate the
members and volunteers to improve each
week, and will keep all members and volunteers
aware of the campaign progress.
10
24 25 26 27 28 Coalition
Meeting
29 30 August voter
registration goal:
300??
Tabling and voter registration 9
September 31 Phase 2: Voter
Education continues
1 2 3 4 5 Voter registration
event:
local tabling
6 Tabling and voter registration 8
School Year
Begins
7 8 Classroom presentations:
voter
registration and
education
9 10 Classroom
presentations:
voter registration
and education
11Coalition
Meeting:
Volunteer recruitment
for tabling
and phone bank
adequate
12 Classroom
presentations:
voter registration
and education
13 Weekly voter
registration goal
100+ per week?
****
Local tabling
Classroom presentations and tabling, volunteer
recruitment
7 Quarter 3
14 15 Classroom presentations
16 1 7 Classroom
presentations
18 Tabling at college
cafeteria,
library, bookstore,
etc
19 Classroom
presentations
***********
Local tabling
20 Weekly voter
registration goal
100+ per week?
****
Tabling at sporting
event
Classroom presentations and tabling, volunteer
recruitment
6
21 Debate or
Event
Preparation
(applicable?),
Phone Bank
preparation
22 Classroom presentations
23 24 Classroom
presentations
25 Coalition
Meeting: Discuss
event planning,
canvassing, and
phone bank
***********
Tabling at college
***********
Phone bank set
up
26 Classroom
presentations
***********
Tabling at college
**********
Phone bank
set up
27 Weekly voter
registration goal:
100+ per week??
********
Phone bank
begins 4:00-
8:00pm
Phone Bank begins. Prepare for
Canvassing. Classroom presentations and
tabling continue. Prepare for Event/
Debate (if holding an event or debate).
5
October 28 Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
29 Classroom presentations
********* Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
30 Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
1 Classroom presentations
**********
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
2 ***********
Local tabling
**********
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm
3 Classroom
presentations
***********
Local tabling
********
no phone or
canvass on
Fridays
4 Canvass begins
11:00am-6:00pm.
Phone bank 4:00-
8:00pm. ******
September voter
registration goal:
500?? Weekly
Phone Banking
totals?
Phone Bank continues, Canvassing
begins. Tabling and classroom presentations
continue. Prepare for event, debate.
Consider canvassing schedule and adjust
to local realities as necessary. Continue
tracking progress and sharing reported
totals with Coalition.
4 Quarter 4
5 Canvassing:
1:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
6 Classroom presentations.
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
7 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00 pm,
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm
8 Classroom presentations,
Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
9 Coalition
Meeting: Prepare
for Debate or
Event
***********
Tabling at college.
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
10 Classroom
presentations
***********
Tabling at college
no phone
or canvass on
Fridays *****
DEBATE or
EVENT
11 Weekly totals:
Canvassing and
Phones. Last
week voter registration
goal:
200?? ******
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
Phone Bank, Canvassing continue.
Classroom presentations and tabling continue.
(Last week for voter registration -
check local dates for voter registration
closing.) Revise phoning and canvass
lists to include all newly registered voters.
Canvass and phones will now contact
or re-contact only registered voters.
Write and release press release on end of
voter registration, coalition success (registration
totals) and activities until
Election Day.
3
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
Appendix B 34
Appendix B 35
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday General Activities Week before
Election
Quarter
12 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
13 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm.
Distribute Press
Release. Follow
up with press
contacts.
14 Voter
Registration
Closes.
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
15 Phase 3: Voter
Mobilization/
GOTV
Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
16 Coalition
Meeting:
announce voter
registration totals
***********
Tabling: information
and education
******
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
17 Tabling:
information
and education:
where to vote
and how? Who
is running?
What are ballot
initiatives?
18 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm
Voter registration closes. At coalition
meeting announce voter registration
totals. Discuss remaining two weeks to
campaign, address any issues about volunteer
recruitment, goals, proceeding
canvass/phone operations, event/debate
turnout. Discuss maximizing media coverage
for remaining weeks.
2
19 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
20 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm
21 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm
22 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
23 Coalition
Meeting: Address
remaining week's
schedule
*********
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
24 Day Off 25 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank 4:00-
8:00pm
Canvassing and Phone banking. Delegate
to volunteer committee to plan Election
Day appreciation and wrap up party - this
should be held in a separate location.
Coalition coordinator should not be
responsible, should delegate planning.
Hint: use youth participants to make sure
party is appealing to all groups involved.
1
November 26 Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
27 Daily program
check-in *****
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
28 Daily program
check-in ******
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
29 Daily program
check-in ******
Canvassing:
4:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
4:00-8:00pm
30 Coalition
Meeting *******
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
31 Daily program
check-in:
roles and
responsibilities
last weekend
and Election
Day.
1 Canvassing:
11:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
12:00-8:00pm
Canvassing and Phone banking. Plan
election day positions and communications.
Follow up on media contacts.
Send Op-Ed pieces out.
0
Delagate
volunteer
committee to
plan
appreciation
event
2 Canvassing:
11:00-7:00pm,
Phone Bank
12:00-8:00pm
3 Daily program
check-in *****
GOTV
Canvassing: 4:00-
7:00pm, Phone
Bank 4:00-8:00pm
4 Election Day.
Hold volunteer
wrap up event
(all ages) to
watch election
returns.
5 6 Complete
paperwork and
reporting for
coalition
7 Complete
paperwork and
reporting for
coalition
8 Canvassing and Phone banking, Election
Day Party. Completing the paperwork
and reporting on totals reached and goals
achieved will save time later trying to
remember what was done, or track down
reports later. Send out press release on
goals achieved as soon as possible after
the election.
Hold wrap up
meetiing for
year?s events
and plans. Set
Annual retreat
meeting plans
in motion
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Invite new recruit members to meeting to
discuss and wrap up annual campaigns.
Plan Annual retreat in January/February.
Plan holiday party if appropriate.
16 17 Complete
paperwork and
reporting for
coalition, remind
coalition members
next meeting.
18 19 20 Coalition
Meeting: Annual
wrap up
21 22 This annual plan includes voter registration
year round, with monthly voter registration
goals beginning in the summer
months. Phone banking and canvassing
begin five weeks from Election Day and
include weekend and weekday shifts.
With 15 phone volunteers making ~20
calls per hour for 4 hour shifts ~36,000
calls can be made. Phone lists can be
revised and re-contacted. With 30 canvass
volunteers (15 pairs) contacting 10
doors per hour for 4 hour shifts ~18,000
doors can be contacted.
**************** For advice on effective
ways to prepare and revise phone and
canvass lists, and to connect those lists
(to contact young voters door to door
who had been called the previous week,
for example) please contact the Youth
Vote Coalition national office.
23 24 25 26 27 Thanksgiving 28 29
December 30 1 2 3 4 5 6
Hold year-end
celebration.
Vacation
7 8 9 10 11 12 Holiday and
thank you
party
13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
36
Name (print) Address (street, city, zip) Phone Email Want to Volunteer?
Appendix C:
Sample Pledge to Vote Sheet
YES, I believe young people should be engaged in the political process. I believe that
youth can make a significant positive impact on important issues if they are educated
and active on issues that affect our communities.
YES! Please contact me to remind me to vote on Election Day!
YES! I pledge to vote on November 2, 2004!
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
37
Appendix D:
Sample Phone and Walk Sheets
phone fullname Poll Location Contact Roommate Machine HangUp NoAnswer Moved Bad Parents Minor Busy
5142241689 ABBEY JONES Westview Church X
5149934635 CHRISTOPHER SEPTER Adel City Hall X
5144653135 CHRISTINA DOWD X
5149935455 ANDREA MEYER Raccoon Valley Comm. Bldg X
5149999554 SUSAN COX X
5149872209 LINDSAY MCILHON Clive Corp. Living Faith Lutheran Churc X
5149873240 JORDAN BOLEY X
5144382049 BRIANN LAWRENCE Woodward City Hall X
5149924255 JOSEPH BEJARNO Dallas Ctr Legion Hall X
5144578593 JESSICA BRUCKHOFF X
5149871058 ERIN MOORHEAD X
5149875896 AMY KLUITER Waukee Public Safety Bldg. X
5149931934 MARSALLYN ROYER X
5149874380 STEPHANIE GULICK Clive Corp. Living Faith Lutheran Churc X
5149923578 DWAINE KELER X
5149933981 JUSTIN COPELAND X
5148332839 AARON SWALLOW X
5149933322 SHANNON SEVERIDT Adel City Hall X
5142336871 MEGAN CARTER X
5149871799 TIMOTHY NG DMACC X
5149935212 KATHRYN BALDON Adel City Hall X
5144652770 CHANEL MCKENZIE X
5149933463 DAVE TRYON Adel City Hall X
5144654111 TONA MUSSON X
5149923416 EVA LINT Dallas Ctr Legion Hall X
5149923243 NATHAN KIEFER X
5144653276 JENNA DOWD X
5149934334 ERIN MORK X
5149874524 JUSTIN FYFE X
5147953287 RYAN THOMPSON
5148342291 BRADLEY WILLIAMS DeSoto City Hall X
5144652470 ERIC CLARK X
5149923194 TODD PRUNTY Dallas Ctr Legion Hall X
5144288235 ADAM BUGBEE Washington Twp. School X
5143270475 MCKENZIE NELSON X
5149924170 BRIANNE GRAY X
5149923366 KARI SHIELDS Dallas Ctr Legion Hall X
5149536287 JACOB HOWARD DMACC X
5149878394 SARAH GOTTO X
5149992399 DAMIAN LIMOGES X
5148342552 CHARLES WALROD X
Sample Phone Sheet
Name______________________________________Sex M F Date_________Start time________Stop time________
(All names and phone #?s have been changed)
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
38 Appendix D
precinct fullname address Contact Roommate GoAway NotHome Moved Can't Parents Sibling
1340416409 TRISHIASWANSON 4350 ZENOBIA ST
1340416409 CENDRAAGUIRRE 4487 ZENOBIA ST
1340416409 SHAUNASAKURA 4401 WOLFF ST B
1340416409 ANDREAPACHECO 4534 YATES ST
1340416409 TIFFANYDIONNE 2807 FM 319
1340416409 ZACKARIAHSLUSHER 10485 W 81ST PL
1340416409 CHRISTOPHERFERNANDEZ 655 ALTER ST # 4-306
1340416409 TERESAHICE 1864 CENTAUR CIR
1340416409 SEANDURANT 4199 W 72ND AVE # 12-201
1340416409 JEREMIAHGOBEN 4380 W 110TH CT
1340416409 DANIELBOUGHTON 5391 S FEDERAL CIR APT N107
1340416409 OLGAZARATE 4566 SHERIDAN BLVD x
1340416409 SPENCEREVANS 4157 KNOX CT
1340416409 DARIANEFRIEND 3341 W 30TH AVE
1340416409 RANDYMITCHELL 4426 WINONA CT x
1340416409 NICHOLASVOLLEBERG 4443 WINONA CT x
1340416409 PAIGEMURPHY 4443 WINONA CT x
1340416409 VICTORROSAS 4468 WINONA CT x
1340416409 AMANDAGREEN 4520 WINONA CT
1340416409 MARKBIDDLECOM 4521 WINONA CT
1340416409 ROCKYGALLEGOS 4588 WINONA CT x
1340416409 FELICIARODRIGUEZ 4322 YATES ST x x
1340416409 JENNIFERGIBSON 4347 YATES ST x
1340416409 JENMERIDE 4421 YATES ST
1340416409 TONYAHANNAGAN 4465 YATES ST x
1340416409 DARIOVALDEZ 4500 YATES ST x
1340416409 MARYMCDOUGAL 4570 YATES ST x
1340416409 TIMOTHYMCDOUGAL 4570 YATES ST x
1340416409 SAMUELMORALES 4583 YATES ST x
1340416409 DREWBUCHHOLZ 4430 UTICA ST x
1340416409 JOHANABUCHHOLZ 4430 UTICA ST x
1340416409 WILLIAMPARKER 4436 UTICA ST
1340416409 LAURABREKUS 4485 UTICA ST x
1340416409 GEDHECKLER 4485 UTICA ST x
1340416409 DANIELMARQUEZ 4520 UTICA ST x
1340416409 ZACKARYVANPROOYEN 4535 UTICA ST
1340416409 CRYSTALBELL 4551 UTICA ST
1340416409 STACYPUHL 4495 VRAIN ST x
1340416409 LAURAHERNANDEZ 4423 WOLFF ST
1340416409 JOSHUACARSON 4509 WOLFF ST
1340416409 SHANNAWAGNER 4520 WOLFF ST x
1340416409 TAMARAPENROSE 4550 WOLFF ST x
1340416409 GAYLEDAVILA 4568 WOLFF ST x
1340416409 MIGUELMEDINA 4572 WOLFF ST x
1340416409 PATRICKESBENSON 4349 ZENOBIA ST x
1340416409 COLINMCMANUS 4368 ZENOBIA ST x
1340416409 GARYRIVAS 4487 ZENOBIA ST x
1340416409 SONYANEUMAIER 4526 ZENOBIA ST x
1340416409 ELOISAMONTOYA 4534 ZENOBIA ST x
1340416409 TERESMONTOYA 4536 ZENOBIA ST x
1340416409 CHRISTOPHERTONEY 4560 ZENOBIA ST x
Sample Walk Sheet
Name_______________________________Sex M F Date_________Start time________Stop time________
(All names and phone #?s have been changed)
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
39
Appendix E:
Sample Phone and Canvass Script
Approved Youth Vote Site Script
Edited by Carolyn Darrow 10/17/2002
Please use for phoning and canvassing.
?Hi, can I speak to (fullname)?
?Hello, this is ___________________ calling on behalf of the Youth Vote Coalition (pronounce slowly and clearly .. it is hard for
most folks to understand the first time they hear it). I?m not calling to ask for money or to sell anything. Youth Vote Coalition is a nonpartisan
organization that encourages young people to vote.
Have you heard of the Youth Vote Coalition? If YES or NO: We are a national nonprofit organization established to increase participation,
build responsive government, and promote awareness of the power of young people voting.
Would you like to know how to get nonpartisan information on the races in your area? If Yes: You can call a toll free number 1-888-
Vote-Smart (1-888-868-3762) or visit www.youthvote.org.
Optional topics:
* Have you received your voter card in the mail? If NO: Do you know what ID you will need to show when you go to vote on Nov 5?
(Make sure you have your state?s requirements handy)
* Do you know how to find your polling location?
* If they ask you about the research you are doing or why you are doing this, please mention that in the past Youth Vote has shown
that just asking youth to vote makes them 8?11 percentage points more likely to do so.
REMEMBER: you can discuss issues with people generally, in terms of pointing them towards websites or local media that will tell
them more about it, but you must take a ?hands off? nonpartisan approach. DO NOT MENTION CANDIDATES. Try to listen to what the
person is saying is important to them and link it to nonpartisan websites (www.vote-smart.org, www.dnet.org) that can give them more information
on the candidates? stands. If someone is really asking you who you are going to vote for, please explain that Youth Vote is completely
nonpartisan and you just can?t talk about who to vote for, the most important thing is that they vote.
End with:
?Can we count on you to vote on November 2nd?
If NO: well, I?m sorry to hear that, I hope that you will vote, remind others to vote and help get out the youth vote!
If YES: Great! I hope you will remind others to vote, and thank you very much for getting out the youth vote!
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
40
Appendix F:
Outreach Methods Chart
Method Time Manpower Costs Effective Interactive
and
Personal?
Comments
Canvassing by
Volunteers
0 ? $ 10?12% mobilization
effect
Yes Plan for last 3-4 weeks
before election.
Canvassing by
temporary staff
$$$ 10?12% mobilization
effect
Yes Plan for last 3-4 weeks
before election.
Canvassing by
temp agency
$$$ 10?12% mobilization
effect
Yes Plan for last 3-4 weeks
before election. Use
young temp workers.
Phone Bank local Depends - $$ 3?5% mobilization
effect
Yes Plan early. Can
contact more people
per hour than
canvassers.
Tabling 0 Not known ? low. Yes Begin early in
campaign. Effective to
register and educate
voters.
Internet site 0 ? $$$ Not known No ? but can
be
interactive
Effective in educating
voters and providing
information to
volunteers and
Coalition members.
Alternative
methods
? ? 0 Not known Maybe Try it?! Tell us your
results!
Literature Drops:
posters, flyers,
brochures ?
handed out at
tables. Door
hangers,
brochures
handed out at
doors.
- $$$ 0-very low - hard to
evaluate
No Easy to design (use
youth!) need
volunteers to
distribute. May reach
targets, but unlikely to
mobilize if not already
planning to vote.
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
41 Appendix F
TV $$$$ 0 ? not fully known,
expected low
No Only useful to build
name recognition, only
successful if placed for
demographic, which is
expensive.
Radio $$ ?
especially
try local
college
radio
0 ? Not fully known,
expected low
No Can be accurately
placed for target
demographic. Get
youth volunteers
involved in design,
message.
Email campaign 0 ? $$ 0 ? very low ? No May reach targets, but
unlikely to mobilize.
May be regarded as
spam.
Direct Mail 0 ? very low $$$ No Not recommended for
this audience.
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8 -
Phone Bank
professional
$$$$ 0 ? .5% ? very low No May reach targets, but
unlikely to mobilize
unless phone script
designed to be as
interactive as possible,
and not ?telemarket-y?.
12
3
6
9
10
11 1
2
4
5 7
8
Method Time Manpower Costs Effective Interactive
and
Personal?
Comments
YouthVote Coalition Best Practices Handbook: Nonpartisan Guide to Voter Mobilization
42

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