Relational Voter Registration with Contact and Survey
Relational outreach is a tactic for expanding the reach of your voter registration efforts. People know their own communities best, and campaign volunteers or paid relational mobilizers can be powerful partners in identifying and registering new voters. This guide walks you through how to use our Contact and Survey action to relationally register voters.
Building Your Action
Create your action. Click into “Actions” in the left-hand menu, then choose “Create New Action” in the upper right of the page. There, you’ll see options for the different types of actions you can create. Select Contact and Survey Friends.
Name your action. First, give your action an internal-facing name. It may be helpful to include the date here. Next, give it a headline. This is what will appear within the app for your supporters. We recommend writing an action-driven headline that will draw supporters in, such as, “Register your friends”.
Write an action description. Describe your action in a one or two sentence call-to-action that lets supporters know what you need them to do. If there is an upcoming deadline, it can be helpful to mention that here to increase urgency. For example: “Reach out to your friends and family before the voter registration deadline on September 8 to make sure they’re registered and ready to vote.”
Upload an image. Actions with images hook supporters and get more engagement. Choose an image to appear with your action in your supporters’ feeds.
Require list/voter file matching and select your voter file. In this action, supporters will match their contacts against the voter file to see who they know who isn’t registered, or who may need to update their registration. Require matching, but make sure you choose to allow supporters to reach out to unmatched contacts. (Unmatched contacts may serve as optimal voter registration leads!) To enable this feature, activate the toggle at the bottom of the text box.
Build your survey. Next, build the survey you would like your supporters to use with their friends and family. As a default, we recommend asking:
- Will you check your voter registration?
- Are you registered to vote?
- [If not registered] Will you register?
Choose your modes of contact. Decide which methods you want to enable for supporters to contact their friends and family – text, call, email, visit, or all the above. For this action, we recommend enabling text, call, and email; and disabling “visit.” (The “visit” option routes a supporter to a contact’s address. In this case, supporters usually import their phone or email contacts, and those contact lists typically don’t have home addresses in them.)
Write scripts for each mode of contact you enable. These scripts should urge supporters’ friends and family to check their voter registration, or register for the first time if they haven’t. It’s often best to make this copy general, without assuming that everyone who a supporter is contacting has never been registered to vote. Make sure your script includes a link to a voter registration form, or another actionable way to take the next step. (For example, if you are using paper forms, have your script include a direct ask like “Can I come by tomorrow with a voter registration form?”) Whenever possible, a link that folks can tap easily right from their phones or computers is best. If you are linking to a form that you have backend access to, use the Sourced Link functionality in the script editor to make your link trackable.
Assignment. Use the yes/no toggle in the assignment section to choose whether you’d like to assign your action to specific supporters or groups, or make it available to everyone. If you don’t assign it specifically to individual groups or people, your action will be available to all supporters.
Activate your action. You’re ready to go! Choose a time for your action to automatically go live, or leave that section blank and click “Activate Action” to make it live right now.
Running a Relational Voter Registration Event
Voter registration can be complicated, so in many cases you’ll see the best success with a training or volunteer event dedicated to relational voter registration. We recommend running an event to facilitate supporters using this action.
We’ve created this handy guide to share with your supporters at the event. It walks them through exactly how to use this action to help their friends and family register to vote. You can share it directly with your volunteers, or use it as a script to walk volunteers through exactly what they need to do. Feel free to make a copy and edit it to fit your particular campaign or organization.
Additionally, we’ve put together some tips for talking with your supporters about relational voter registration. You can read them here. And below, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to walking supporters through taking this action that you can use to run your relational voter registration event.
Walking Supporters Through Taking Action
Step 1: Customizing Messages
The first step supporters will take in this action is customizing the contact scripts. They don’t have to edit the scripts, but they can if they like!
- If supporters are calling or visiting their contact in person, they shouldn’t worry about reading the script. They know how to talk to the people in their lives better than we ever could!
- It’s also helpful to let folks know that they’ll have the ability to individually customize the message when they actually click "Message”.
Step 2: Importing Contacts
In order to get the full benefit of voter file matching in this action, supporters need to import contacts from their phones, emails, or wherever else they have contacts stored. This can sometimes be tricky – supporters often have (very reasonable!) hesitations about syncing their contacts’ data.
- You can let them know that the campaign/organization does not have access to the phone numbers or email addresses of their contacts. This information is used to check which of their contacts show up in the voter file, and which don’t. The campaign/organization will be able to see the names of people they reached out to, but not what exactly they said, and not their personal contact info.
- The biggest concern supporters tend to have is that the campaign/organization will start texting or calling their friends. The best way to ease this concern is with the truth: that the campaign/organization does not have access to this contact information, and, because we know relational outreach is more effective than any other type of outreach, it’s in everyone’s best interest to leave the reaching out to them anyway.
Step 3: Choosing who to talk to
Once a voter file match has been run, supporters’ contacts are split into three groups: Potential New Voters, Confirmed Voters, and Unconfirmed Voters. Supporters will need to tap into each group and choose who they’ll contact from within each group. Here’s what they should look for in each:
- Potential New Voters - These are contacts who our algorithm could not find in the official record of registered voters. This list contains your hottest leads for potential new voters to register – but keep in mind that this list will also include people who are registered in other states, non-citizens, or minors. Supporters should look specifically for people who are eligible to be voters in your state.
Here’s a script you can use if you like: “This group of people are people you know who we couldn’t find in our state’s official record of registered voters. That might be because they are saved in your phone with a different name or phone number than is on file, because they actually live in another state and vote there instead, because they aren’t old enough to vote or aren’t a citizen – or it could be that they just aren’t registered to vote yet. Select everyone who lives in our state.”
- Confirmed Voters - These are contacts that we found matches for in the voter file. That means they have active, in-state voter registrations. However, if a person has moved or changed their name since they registered, they will need to update their registration (aka register again) in order to vote. Have your volunteers select at least everyone who meets that criteria to talk to about voting– and the more the merrier! We’re all better off if we check our voter registration regularly to make sure it’s up to date.
Example script: “Now, we’re going to look at the folks who do show up in our state’s official record of registered voters. Voter registrations are tied to a person’s home address, so if anyone on this list has moved in the last few years – or if you think they might have moved, it’s worth reaching out to them to urge them to double check their registration.”
- Unconfirmed Voters - These are people who our matching algorithm has found multiple potential matches for in the voter file. Supporters should go through each of them and select the correct match or no match, and mark which people they are willing to talk to about voting. If a person has a match but the supporter thinks there is a chance they may have moved recently, that person will need to update their voter registration – so the supporter should select them. If there is no match but the person lives in the state and will be old enough to vote by the time of the election, the supporter should select them.
- Example script: “Last, let’s look at our Unconfirmed Voters. These are people we found a couple of potential matches for in the record of voters. Select the right match if there is one, or ‘no match’. Basically, in this step you are sorting these people into potential new voters and confirmed voters, and choosing which people you’re going to talk to.”
Step 4: Reaching out & logging survey responses
- Now that supporters have chosen their group of people to reach out to, it’s time to enter Step 4 and contact each person. When a volunteer enters step 4, they’ll see their list of people along with options to contact them using whatever methods you have enabled in the tool. They’ll also see a button to answer survey questions for each person – be sure to underscore how important it is that they log responses here.