Why & How to Do Voter Registration at Federal Agencies
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A quick and accessible explainer of the potential for impact with robust voter registration at key federal agencies, as well as an overview of how to do voter registration well at these agencies.
Detailed guidance on how to conduct effective voter registration at federal agencies, based on lessons from state agency voter registration via the NVRA, for agency staff engaged in the implementation of the Voting Executive Order.
Sample List of Federal Agencies & Programs for Voter Registration
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A short, non-exhaustive list of federal programs that are good candidates for voter registration, which we will update over time.
- Social Security Administration (SSA), particularly through its administration of the SSI and SSDI programs
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security, at naturalization ceremonies
- Department of Education, particularly through its administration of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form
- Health and Human Services (HHS), particularly through its administration of healthcare.gov, navigator assistance programs, and Head Start programs; among Indian Health Services (IHS) facilities through programs like Community Health Representatives (CHR), the Tribal Injury Prevention Cooperative Agreement Program (TIPCAP); and through additional programs serving Native Americans like as Tribal TANF, Tribal TANF Child Welfare program, and Native Employment Works
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD), particularly through the Public Housing Operating Fund, through service coordinator programs like multifamily housing service coordinators and housing counselors, and through any other applicable housing programs for low-income communities
- Veterans Affairs (VA), particularly through its medical, homelessness, and vocational rehabilitation and employment services for veterans with disabilities—including the Veteran Readiness and Employment Program, the Transition Assistance Program and Chapter 36 - Personalized Career Planning and Guidance program—and through the GI Bill online application and the disability online application for compensation (form 526ez)
- Department of Labor (DOL), particularly through Job Corps, the Transition Assistance Program, and Reentry Employment Opportunities programs like Pathways Home
- Department of Treasury, particularly through its financial services like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly
- Department of State, at passport offices and through online passport renewals
- Department of the Interior (DOI) via the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and through any other applicable programs serving Native Americans, as well as the National Park Service
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), particularly through its food commodity programs and housing assistance programs like the Section 502 Mortgage Loan program, Section 515 Rental Loan Program, and Rural Rental Housing Assistance
- The United States Postal Service, through post offices in our communities
This document details the specific legal requirements for federal agencies designated as voter registration sites under the NVRA, and it provides detailed guidance on how these designated federal agencies should implement these required voter registration services.
It draws on the many years of experience of state agency-based voter registration and includes examples of processes from many states such as Arkansas, Arkansas, California, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Louisiana, New Mexico and North Carolina.
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This document provides guidance to Health and Human Services (HHs) and Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) for effectively incorporating robust voter registration services into the federal healthcare exchange, including healthcare.gov, and provides several lessons and examples of effective integration of voter registration into state-run healthcare exchanges.
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Explanation of why voter registration at agencies—both state and federal—is strictly nonpartisan and sample training materials for agency staff.
In this comment, we provide recommendations for addressing some barriers to voter registration faced by voters with disabilities and voters who are Limited English proficient.
A summary of our recommendations for improving the accessibility of Vote.gov, and some specific examples of improvements that can be made.
Voter registration operates as a tool of racist voter suppression and has long been weaponized to silence communities of color. Advocates and Election Officials in states have the opportunity to change this by designating federal agencies in their states as sites of voter registration.
Many states can designate federal agencies via a simple letter from their chief election official. This sample letter is directed to USCIS, but it can be adapted for any federal agency/program.
Download the Sample Letter
This document provides guidance to Indian Health Service (IHS) on how to effectively integrate robust voter registration services into interactions with patients at IHS facilities. It provides valuable information for both federally- and tribally-run facilities based on experience offering voter registration in other health contexts, like Medicaid offices and VA facilities.
Download the PDF