Overcoming Objections to Register to Vote

Guest blog post by Lynn Williams, NACHC Regional Field Representative

Last month, during a training session on voter registration hosted by the National Council of La Raza, I participated in a role playing exercise. Role playing is one of my favorite training techniques because it demonstrates how to achieve a goal in a memorable, in a real-life way. Conference attendees first brainstormed on common objections we hear whenever registering voters. Then we acted out rebuttals – ways to overcome those objections. One we had all heard was:

“I don’t want to register to vote because

I don’t want to be called up for jury duty.”

Fact or fiction? Urban myth or law? Among the group of seasoned workers in the field, none of us knew what was really true. So I asked our Community Health Vote legal advisor, and here’s what I learned: Just as election regulations vary by state, so do methods for selecting juries.

• Mississippi and Montana are the only states where voter registration is the only source for jury duty lists. Miss. Code §13-5-1; Mont. Code §3-15.

• In Nevada, voter registration is the only mandatory source for jury duty lists, and counties may exercise discretion to use other sources. Nev. Rev. Stat. §6.045.

• Several states use voter registration or voter rolls as the primary source but supplement them with other expansive sources such as driver’s licenses, telephone directories, and tax rolls. These states are Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Dakota (actual voters are the main source list). The other states all use DMV driver lists as a primary source, often alongside voter registration and other sources. In those states, a driver who is not registered to vote is already eligible for jury duty.

• Non-drivers who are not yet registered voters would become eligible for jury duty upon registering in states where voter registration and driver’s licenses are the only required sources. Those states are: Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Reasons to vote can far outweigh the reasons not to show up at the polls. When we reach out to new voters, we can influence people to get involved, or not. Hear other common objections and ways to overcome them during the Community Health Vote 2012 webinar series: Webinar #2: Wednesday, July 11, 2pm EST “Motivating Health Center Patients & Staff to Vote.

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