The Basics

  1. The table is a tool, not the main attraction.
    • Make sure all of your materials are laid out in an accessible manner, but very few people stop by a table just because there is one.
  2. Make sure to be in front of the table (if you’re able).
    • People stop by a table because they see something interesting and engaging, or their attention is actively being drawn to it. Being in front of the table directly talking to people is going to bring in more voter registrations than letting people come to you.
  3. Two people are better than one.
    • One person can do it in a pinch, but with two you can talk to more people, support each other if someone has questions, and make tabling more fun.

The Ask

  1. Think about how you’re talking to people.
    • Be direct, and don’t use wiggle words. Don’t ask, “Do you think you’re registered to vote?” but “Are you registered to vote?”
  2. The more questions you ask, the more likely people are to say no.
    • Asking a series of questions, such as “Have you heard about the upcoming elections” before asking them to register isn’t going to get many people interested.
  3. Why would students want to vote in the next election?
    • Make sure to motivate them. Say something like, “Students are part of the community, too. Local elected officials make decisions which affect students, such as on transportation, community livability, and public safety. These decision can be just as important as state and federal issues, and students have the right to vote on them just the same.” This also works if students ask about registering at home vs. their address while going to school.
  4. Make sure to write a script for tabling.
    • While it’s normal to deviate from a script when actually talking to people, writing one helps you consolidate what you’re saying and include important information.
  5. It’s easier to do GOTV if they’re registered here, instead of at home.
    • In the rush of day-to-day life, it’s easy for absentee ballots to get lost or thrown away in other mail.
  6. Many times students think that once they are registered to vote, they don’t have to register again.
    • Even if they say “yes” to the question of if they’re registered, make sure to follow up by asking if they have registered since they last moved. Most people haven’t.

Things to think about

  1. How are you going to follow up to ensure students vote?
    • Registration is an important step, but it’s just the first one. Studies show it takes multiple reminders for most people to vote. How are you going to make sure you follow up with the students you register?
  2. While the phone number field on the voter registration form is optional, it helps the clerk or Secretary of State follow up if any information is incorrect or incomplete.
  3. If people are already registered at their current address, think of a back-up ask to engage them.
    • This isn’t critical, but if you want to make sure they engaged/actually vote in the election, having a pledge-to-vote card where they can jot down their information is an effective strategy.