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You Don't Need a Home to Vote
2010 Voter Rights/Registration Packet

Overcoming Agency Resistance

“My agency is not allowed to do voter registration.”

Non-profit, 501(c)(3) organizations can operate voter registration drives if they do so in a non-partisan manner. In fact, the National Voter Registration Act encourages all non-governmental entities to register their clients. As a non-profit, you cannot take a position on candidates, but you can register people to vote.

“My agency does not have the staff, volunteers or the time to do voter registration.”

If you are not in a position to conduct an actual voter registration drive, you can help register voters as part of your regular work.  Here are some ideas to conduct voter registration besides a drive:

  • Incorporate voter registration into your intake or interview process (see pg. 11 for advice on conducting registration in this manner).
  • Have registration forms readily available if not integrating it into your intake process.
  • Having a voter registration party after hours or for lunch is easier than conducting an intense voter registration drive throughout an afternoon or an entire day (see pg. 21 for more advice on voter registration parties).
  • Combine a voter registration drive with a candidate volunteer day, which will also bring media coverage to your organization.  Although this is time intensive, this will possibly bring a lot of publicity (see pg. 23 for advice on having candidates volunteer at your organization).


“Clients are not interested in the issues.”

Our experience is that clients want to vote and do vote if barriers to exercising this basic right are removed. Our clients are often disconnected from community life. Voting helps them reconnect with their community in a positive way.

“OK, I am convinced. What else can I do?”

Here are a few ideas. Call us if you want more information or assistance.

  • Let your clients use your agency as a mailing address for their sample and/or absentee ballots.

  • Call your county elections office and find out if your agency can become a polling site on Election Day.

  • Provide transportation to a polling site on Election Day.

  • Organize a candidates’ forum and ask the candidates to address your issues.

  • Help clients to get a candidates’ forum in your community.

  • Talk to your peers in other non-profits, and encourage them to involve their clients in the democratic process.

Download full report as pdf | Acknowledgements | Introduction | Overcoming Agency Resistance | Frequently Asked Questions by Organizations about Conducting Voter Registration | Incorporating Voter Registration into the Intake Process | Conducting a Successful Voter Registration Drive | Overcoming Resistance by Individuals | Frequently Asked Questions by Individuals | Conducting a Voter Registration Party | Registering Tenants to Vote | Having Candidates Volunteer at Your Agency | Holding a Candidate Forum on Housing and Homelessness | Media Tips for Hosting Events | Letter Writing Power Hour | Leading Up to Election Day | On Election Day | Voting & Registration Information Flyer | Legal Issues and Practical Barriers to Voting for Homeless People | State-by-State Chart of Homeless People’s Voting Rights | State-by-State Chart of Disenfranchisement Categories | State-by-State Chart of ID Requirements | State-by-State Chart of Registration Deadlines & Residency Requirements | Court Decisions on Homeless People’s Voting Rights | Sample Phone Script | Sample Invitation Letter | Sample Media Advisory | Sample Press Release

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