NAHIPSW Voter Registration


Each year, NAHIPSW hosts a voter registration drive designed to motivate University of Connecticut School of Social Work students to register their clients, colleagues, family, and friends to vote. NAHIPSW provides each participating field student with a packet of information including voter registration cards, tips for registering clients, and instructions for setting up a voter registration drive at a field placement. In collaboration with the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office, NAHIPSW also offers trainings to students on voter registration eligibility requirements. In the past, NAHIPSW has been successful at encouraging students to register voters, allowing both students and clients to benefit.

Voter Registration & Informational Links

Voter Registration Forms

Tips for Hosting Drives

Non-Profit Voter Registration Drives

Tips for Voter Registration Drives
National Coalition for the Homeless

National Voter Registration Act (1993)
Department of Justice

Tips for Agency-Based Voter Registration

  • Make sure that 100% of the staff are registered to vote.
  • Use the enclosed poster in your agency’s lobby.
  • Have registration cards readily available in the reception areas and/or with the receptionist.
  • Display posters and pamphlets encouraging registration in the reception area.
  • Create a drop box for completed registration cards in the reception area.
  • Canvass reception area multiple times throughout the day encouraging people to register.
  • Educate colleagues and staff members about the importance of voter registration. For example, discuss and share contents of the voter registration packet in staff meetings.
  • Hold a contest in your agency/organization. Give a prize to the staff member that registers the most clients.
  • Make voter registration part of intake.

If you need any more information and/or additional voter registration cards call or stop by the Nancy A. Humpreys Intitute for Political Social Work at the UConn School of Social Work (Room 320), the Secretary of State’s Office, or your Town Clerk.

FAQs for Students

Does my field instructor know about this drive?

YES! Every field instructor was given information about this drive.

Will I receive academic credit for completing the drive?

No, however, it can be written into your educational contract, and used as part of your field placement hour requirements.

If I work with children, adolescents, or non-citizens how can I participate?

Even though your clients may not be eligible to vote, you can still register the eligible family members of your clients, or staff members at your agency. You can also use this information to register your family or friends.

If I work with homeless people, can I register them?

YES! Homeless individuals can be registered to vote. Consult with your field instructor about using the agency or site address for clients when filling out the form.

If I work with convicted felons, can I register them?

If they have completed their probation requirements, yes. Contact 1-866-986-8464 (Democracy Works Voting Rights Restoration Project) for specific information.

My agency has told me that it is not legal for them to conduct this drive. What do I say to them?

It is legal for voter registration to be completed at the vast majority of non-profit 501(c)(3) agencies, so long as the activity is non-partisan. If you work for a public social services agency, such as a welfare office, then under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 your agency is required by the government to participate in non-partisan voter registration activities. If you have any questions please check with us at the Institute.

What is non-partisan?

Non-partisan simply means that no political party, candidate, or platform is endorsed or opposed by the voter registration drive. For instance, students or workers registering clients to vote cannot make statements like:

  • “Register to vote today, and ensure Jane Smith’s victory!”
  • “Don’t let Representative Jones ruin our community. Vote for change!”

However, students and workers can make the following statements when registering clients to vote:

  • “Our elected officials make decisions that affect your benefits, and your life every day. By voting you can help in ensuring that the candidate who represents your beliefs is in office.”
  • “Every vote does count, so please register today.”

How do I complete a voter registration drive?

  1. Speak with your field instructor to designate an area in the agency that will serve as the focal point of the drive.
  2. Carry out the plan that you and your field instructor have agreed upon for this drive, and have written into your educational contract. Keep in mind registration deadlines, methods of engaging staff members in the drive, and goals of the activity (How many people do you want to register? What issues can be used to engage clients in the activity?).
  3. To register clients correctly:
    • If you are registering clients for the November 8th local elections, and would like the Institute to mail the registration cards for you, then return all completed registration forms to the Institute in Room 331 by October 25th at noon.
    • If you or your agency would like to mail the cards yourself and are registering clients for the November 8th election, the registration cards must be postmarked by October 25th.
    • If you are not registering clients for the November 8th elections, but for future state and local elections, please hand in all registration cards to Room 320 by November 18th.
  4. Return all unused packet materials to the Institute by November 18th.

What do I do with any registration cards that I do not use?

Return any materials that you do not use to NAHIPSW in Room 320. They will be recycled for future years.

Who can I contact for any additional questions or comments?

Contact the NAHIPSW in Room 320, by email at politicalinstitute@uconn.edu, by phone at (860) 570-9262, or on our website at http://ssw.uconn.edu/our-community/centers-institutes-projects/nancy-a-humphreys-institute-for-political-social-work.

Will I have enough time to do this at my field placement?

It takes very little time to actually register someone to vote. This is an activity that can be written into your educational contract and counted toward the attainment of your field education hours. You can make a big change in a short amount of time!

FAQs for Voters

Who can register to vote?

To be eligible to vote in Connecticut you must:

  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Be a resident of a Connecticut town.
  • Be at least 17 years old, so long as you will be 18 on Election Day.

Once I register to vote, do I ever have to reregister?

Your registration is permanent, with two exceptions:

  • If you move your residence within your town or to another town, change your name, or alter your party enrollment, you must register in your new town of residence.
  • If you are under the supervision of the Judicial or Corrections Department as a result of a felony conviction (other than non-support), your voting rights are forfeited until all aspects of your sentence have been completed. You must provide documentation of the completion of your sentence to your local Registrar of Voters in order to have your voting rights restored. Contact 1-866-986-8464 (Democracy Works Voting Rights Restoration Project) for more information.

How do I know that my registration has been received and approved?

Within three weeks of handing in your registration, you should receive an approval form from the Registrar of Voters. If you do not receive the approval, then you should contact the Registrar of Voters at your town hall or town office building.

Do I need to bring ID when voting?

Yes. Everyone needs to show identification at the polls. Acceptable forms of ID are a Driver’s License, Social Security card, or any form of ID with either (a) your name and address, (b) your name and signature or (c) your name and photo. If you forget to bring your ID, then you can sign a list under penalty of a false statement, verifying your identification. Not having an acceptable form of identification does not take away your right to vote.

Is my vote secret?

Yes. You don’t have to tell anyone how you vote in elections.

What do I do if I have a disability or need help while voting?

Federal statutes, such as the “Help America Vote Act,” require that persons with a disability are able to vote privately and independently. If the polling place that you have been assigned is not able to meet your needs, then do not hesitate to contact Marisa Morello, HAVA Project Manager for the Connecticut Secretary of the State at (860) 509-6267 or Marisa.morello@po.state.ct.us.

What is an absentee ballot, and when can it be used?

An absentee ballot allows individuals to vote if they can’t be at the polling place on Election Day. Absentee ballots may be obtained through your Town Clerk in advance of the election.

When should I hand in my registration card in order to vote in this year’s local election?

If you are going to mail in your voter registration card then it needs to be postmarked by October 25th. If you are going to hand deliver your card to the town clerk or registrar, it can be handed in by November 1st.