This blog post is part of a series sharing voter registration and civic engagement tips and ideas from health center advocates. If your health center is offering voter registration and you would like to write a guest blog post, email your post to CHCVote@nachc.org.
Guest Blog Post: Joanna Schneider, summer intern at Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center, part of Country Doctor Community Health Centers in Seattle, Washington, shares how the health center is providing the opportunity for patients to register to vote.
How To: Make Voter Registration Accessible for Health Center Patients
We began our voter registration drive about a week ago. So far, we have had about one voter register per day. Most choose to fill out a paper form, although a couple have tried out the online registration. We also assist with questions of changing residency, what languages the forms are available in, and general eligibility, among other things.
We have posted signs all over the waiting room and clinic, in both Spanish and English. Pasted to the check-in counter is a bright sign telling patients they can register to vote here. At Country Doctor Community Clinic there is an eye-catching sign on the central fish tank. We also changed all the screen savers of computers in the exam rooms to a voter registration sign.
If a patient wants to vote, they can ask at the front desk or ask for me (the summer intern). I can assist with the paper forms or with online registration. We have given patients the option of using the clinic’s address as a mailing address, and then they can pick up their ballot here when it arrives. We also offer to mail all the forms for our patients.
In the upcoming months, we are excited to register as many voters as we can. We also are proud to promote Facebook’s upcoming voter registration app (Washington is the first state to try this out!). Throughout this process, we appreciate all the support we have gotten from the League of Women Voters, the Country Doctor Community Health Centers administration, staff, providers, and patients.