Last year I worked with Organizing for America to register new voters here in Virginia. We set up in libraries, in front of supermarkets, and roamed college campuses with clip boards. On a very good day, I registered 11 people in 3 hours.
Organizing for America has morphed into Organizing for Action, and right now their focus isn't voter registration. In most of the country, there won't be any major elections this year, but here in Virginia, we will be electing a governor -- most likely Terry McAuliffe vs Cuccinelli, as well as Lt. governor, and attorney general. State delegates will also be elected in November. Anyone who has watched the antics of our current governor and attorney general can appreciate that local elections have consequences.
Last year I also joined The League of Women Voters because I knew that a large part of the League's mission is to register voters.
The League was founded in 1920 to help 20 million women register and carry out their new responsibilities as voters. Today, the League operates one of the largest and longest running non-partisan voter registration efforts in the nation. By sponsoring National Voter Registration Day, registering new citizens at naturalization ceremonies, reaching out to young people through its high school voter registration project and community college registration program, and offering voter registration forms online, the League encourages participation in elections by all eligible citizens.http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Last year, The League registered almost 2,000 high school seniors here in Loudoun County. Loudoun county is very purple and pivotal. Traditionally a very republican leaning county, Loudoun went for President Obama in 2008. However, in 2009, the county went over to the dark side and helped put Bob McDonnell in the governor's mansion where he could sign off on laws like requiring vaginal ultrasound probes and a recent photo ID bill. Then last year, 2012, the majority of the voters in the county voted to reelect President Obama and also for Senator Tim Kaine (D).
The League of Women Voters is nonpartisan. We register Republicans as well as Democrats, we don't ask who the person is planning to vote for. But higher voter registration and turnout seems to benefit Democratic candidates -- at least it does here in Virginia.
The League will be doing high school registration through the month of May before the seniors are out of school. After that, there will be other registration events in libraries and shopping centers, however, nothing like what OFA did last year -- the League of Women Voters doesn't have the
man-womanpower to do nearly as much.
Today I went to a local high school and met with seniors in seven government classes. I registered over 100 new voters. After I finished, I took the completed forms to the Registrars office. I spent some time talking with the woman in charge; I asked her a lot of questions because I want to get more involved and set up some registration events. She told me that under the new law which will go in effect in July, people who do voter registration are going to have to be trained by someone from the Registrar's office. She said she'd be happy to set up training sessions in the evenings or weekends if that works best for people.
I also asked about the new photo ID law. Apparently, though this law has been passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, it still needs to be reviewed by the state justice department so it won't be going into effect till 2014. The law requires that the state will have to provide a photo ID for free to anyone who needs one, but they haven't worked out the logistics of how that's going to happen. Regardless, once it goes into effect, people who don't have drivers' licenses are going to need help getting to either the Registrar's office or the Department of Motor Vehicles to get their government issued IDs.
If you're interested in knowing more about The League of Women Voters and what they do, here's their website: http://www.lwv.org/ . You don't have to be a woman to join. The League opened their membership to men in 1973. If you're interested in joining, there are local branches for most counties.