Calling for Democracy; Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020, Part Three: Are They Registered to Vote?

Calling for Democracy; Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020, Part Three: Are They Registered to Vote?

We at OTYCD released the full Calling for Democracy post earlier this week. We promised to break it into more manageable chunks. This is one of several.

Successful calling for democracy involves several steps, and might involve more than one follow-up to ensure that your friends and family carry through and vote for Joe Biden and the Democrats.

You’ll want to have the following tools at hand:

The website for I Will Vote:


FiveThirtyEight’s guide to How to Vote in the 2020 Election:


The phone number for I Will Vote’s hotline:


…and a document of some sort–maybe it’s digital, maybe it’s paper–you’ll use to track your efforts. It should include columns that clearly label:

Who you contacted;

When you contacted them (the day, date, and maybe the time);

The results of the call;

Whether and if you need to call them again after finding an answer to a question or solving a problem they have.

This document should reflect the fact that you need to check in with everyone again in late October, on Election Day Eve, and maybe Election Day itself to make sure they followed through with their voting plans and haven’t hit any obstacles.

Let us stress this fact: If the person has a question you can’t answer, or some other issue arises that you’re not sure how to resolve, STOP and call the I Will Vote hotline for help (833.336.8683). Do! Not! Guess! If you’re not completely sure about how to proceed, CALL AND CHECK.

<You’ve just spoken with your friend or family member about voting in 2020, and now you’re rolling directly into asking the following question…>

“Let me start by asking if you’re registered to vote. Are you registered to vote?”

If they say “No” or “I don’t know”, pull up the I Will Vote website, and click on the “Check if I’m Registered to Vote” button.

The I Will Vote link should lead to the relevant web page for the official who oversees elections in that person’s state (it’s either the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth), and probably leads directly to the page that lets them check if they’re registered to vote.

If the person is registered, have them take a screenshot of the page and save it, in case they need it as evidence. Then scroll down to the section below on choosing how to vote.

If the person is not registered, help them register.

It is OK for you to type their information into the relevant forms on their state or territory’s website. (If they are deployed with the military or living outside the country for other reasons, scroll to the bottom of I Will Vote‘s Register to Vote page and select that option. If you hit a snag, call the I Will Vote hotline: 833.336.8683.)

You can also offer to send them the relevant link from I Will Vote and talk them through the process of registering online.

Once they have completed an online registration, have them take a screenshot and save it, in case they need it as evidence.

If they insist on printing out and mailing their registration, talk them through that. <This assumes they have their own printer, and assumes the printer has sufficient toner. If neither is true, steer them to doing things online instead.>

If they haven’t got stamps or an envelope, offer to give them those things or offer to reimburse them, if you are able.

Have them take a photograph of the sealed envelope before mailing, in case they need it later as evidence.

Encourage them to mail the forms right away.

Most deadlines to register to vote fall in October.

If you plug the person’s state or territory into the OTYCD search engine, the first article to come up should be the one that gives the relevant deadline.

Click the link, scroll down, and the deadline should be there in big shouty bold type. The person has to complete their registration to vote on or before that date.

Make a note on your tracking sheet to follow up with them after three business days to confirm that their registration attempt went through.

If three more days pass without the voter registration reaching completion, or you hit some other weird snag, call the I Will Vote hotline for help: 833.336.8683.

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

I Will Vote and its hotline are provided by the Democratic National Committee. The hotline is staffed by volunteers.

There’s no direct way to earmark funds for the I Will Vote service, but you can put I Will Vote in the memo line of a personal check.

Checks should be made out to the Democratic National Committee and mailed to:

Democratic National Committee

PO Box 96585

Washington DC 20077-7242

The DNC also accepts donations via ActBlue:


FiveThirtyEight is the brainchild of Nate Silver.