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Agency-Based Voter Registration
September 15, 2008

Those agencies providing services to people with any disability that receive state funds (or state funds by way of the county) are designated by law as a voter registration agency. The National Voter Registration Act requires that the following.

  • The agency provide regular voter registration opportunities to the individuals served on a “regular basis” – at a minimum at intake, recertification, and change of address.
  • Individuals should be asked  “Are you registered to vote where you live now?  If not, may I assist you in registering to vote today?”  it is requested that the phrase “where you live now” be added. Research has shown that the inclusion of this phrase results in a dramatically higher percentage of people realizing that they need to update their voter registration.
  • Each individual who is offered a voter registration opportunity should complete a “Voter Registration Preference Form.”  A sample is included from the link. State and federal law require agencies to keep these forms for two years. 
  • Agencies must provide the same level of assistance in completing the voter registration form that is provided to complete agency forms. Unless the individual insists on transmitting the completed form to the local county elections office, the agency is responsible for the transmission of the completed voter registration form to the county, either by mail or hand delivery. The agency is also responsible for paying necessary postage.
  • Each voter registration form has, in the space above the return address, a number of boxes similar to the following:

A

B

C

D

 

1

2

3

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agencies need to mark or “X” Box 2.  This indicates that the voter registration form came from a mental health/mental retardation agency.

  • Please note that voter registrations are “tracked” and a yearly report to the Pennsylvania General Assembly is issued detailing the voter registration data for each category of disability agency, county by county. 

More information is available on the Disability Voting Coalition of Pennsylvania web site (www.dvcpa.org).  The Pennsylvania Department of State has issued a comprehensive guide to agency-based voter registration programs also available on the PCPA web site.  Further questions can be directed to Betty Simmonds or Anne Leisure.

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