Registered nurses are over 4.3 million strong and ensuring their voices are part of any election starts on the campaign trail.
Voter Registration Drive
Your vote is your most powerful tool in an election. Second to that, helping others vote is a way to enable more people to harness that power. Holding a voter registration drive inspires democracy at the grassroots level. You do not need to be an expert in election law to conduct one, and they can take place almost anywhere there is good foot traffic. Our partners at Vot-ER offer resources and scripts to help host a successful event.
- Check with local officials and/or the owner of the business or property around which you’re hoping to hold your drive to make sure it is acceptable to conduct it there. Some good places to conduct a drive include a university quad, in front of a post office, at a farmer’s market, or at a public park.
- Conduct some initial research into your state and local election laws and review your state’s guidelines for running a voter registration drive here. Some states require state-sponsored training or have other rules that require you to sign up with the relevant election office ahead of time.
- Research in advance relevant voter registration deadlines, where to get voter registration forms, and where to mail or submit them.
- We recommend registering people by hand, as well as online in states where it is available, as long as you clearly indicate what documentation people need to register to vote (i.e. state issued license, passport etc.).
- Make sure you bring plenty of paper, pens, clipboards, and all the necessary forms in order to have a successful registration drive.
- Finally, make sure you advertise your drive through traditional and social media outlets, as well as any other forums that you think make sense.
The RNAction team can assist with advertising and helping nurses to connect with your C/SNA leadership to ensure that you receive assistance and coordination for your voter registration drive.
Phone and Text Banks
Phone and text banking are some of the easiest ways to volunteer for a political campaign. Phone banking involves picking up the phone and dialing a potential voter and making a specific ask. Our partner, Vot-ER offers opportunities to participate in both phone and text banks.
When you sign up for a phone or text banking shift for an issue or a campaign, you will receive a place and a time for the phone or bank. Campaign staffers will tell you the objective when you arrive, which could vary from educating a potential voter on a candidate’s stance on an issue, to telling them where their polling place is. This staffer will also provide a script to follow as you make calls or send texts so it’s easy to share the campaign’s key messages.
Most campaigns will be able to tell you who you will be contacting as well as their voting history. Since most people have a cellphone, volunteers can sign up for a shift anytime from the convenience of their home. Every campaign has plenty of phone banking (and “text-out-the-vote”) slots so please conduct a little research to find out how you can sign up for a shift.
Hosting a Fundraiser
Hosting a fundraiser is an effective way to generate resources for a particular candidate. They have the added benefit of providing the host and attendees direct access to the candidate in a private setting. Most fundraisers ask attendees to make a pledge up front and either contribute in advance or at the time of the event.
The setting for the event could include a luncheon, dinner, a roundtable discussion, or auction. Many hosts choose to open up their home to provide a more intimate setting. To organize a fundraiser for your chosen candidate, please visit the campaign website of your choosing or contact your C/SNA leadership or the RNAction team.
Campaigns will usually work with you on scheduling the event, tracking pledged contributions and helping to ensure its success. Lastly, once you have your event on the books, please check with your RN Action team and your C/SNA so we can help provide suggested talking points on important issues that impact the nursing profession.
Volunteering for a Candidate or at your Local Polling Center
The easiest way to volunteer on a campaign is to visit a campaign website and find the section on volunteering. Volunteering with a campaign could include canvassing door-to-door, phone banking, putting up campaign signs or simply helping a campaign office run more efficiently.
Volunteering at your local polling place is another great way for you to feel the energy of election day. Contact your local government to find out how to can help out at a local polling place in your area. Local governments have regulations on what you’re allowed to do as a polling place volunteer or poll monitor, so clarifying those rules with your polling place is important.
Visit a Town Hall or Campaign Event Near You
Town halls represent the very best of democracy, allowing constituents to directly interact with their elected officials. It’s important to keep in mind that elected officials work for their constituents, who should always have the power to discuss ideas, ask questions and be critical of their representatives in a free and fair democracy.
If a candidate(s) does not have a town hall scheduled, consider organizing your own town hall and invite them to join. To locate your nearest upcoming town hall please visit Town Hall Project.
Let us know about your town hall experience. We love hearing stories about members advocating for the issues that they care about and it is our job at RNAction to assist you and to highlight your experiences.
To attend an event for a specific candidate, please visit their campaign website.
Connecting with your State Association Leadership
Whether it is a town hall, candidate forum, voter registration drive or other volunteer opportunity, your Constituent/State Nurses Association (C/SNA) may be able to assist your engagement for elections of any size. We encourage all members who want to get involved in the election to check with their C/SNA leadership first to see what efforts they are making to get involved.
Your C/SNA will likely already be engaged in the election at the state level and be positioned to assist your efforts. Leadership might already have relationships with a particular campaign that you want to support or volunteer for and can facilitate that connection. As always, there is strength in numbers and your C/SNA can help drum up support at the state level.
For assistance connecting with your C/SNA leadership, please contact us.
Writing a Letter to the Editor
Writing letters to the editor (LTEs) of your local media outlets is a great way to energize other nurses and spread the word about important issues. If you wish to promote ANA visibility in the community, please email us first to ensure you are using messaging consistent with ANA language. Please also provide a brief description of your education and background of expertise.
LTEs can be used to correct and clarify facts in a recent news story, comment on the actions of a presidential candidate, direct attention to a problem, spur coverage of an issue that is being overlooked, or urge readers to support your cause. They are especially effective in local and community media.
We advise caution towards mentioning your employer and you should be familiar with your employer’s media guidelines before getting started. Click here to see a sample LTE.
Get Out the Vote
Get out the Vote (GOTV) campaigns happen in the final weeks leading up to and on Election Day. The best GOTV campaigns are multi-faceted, deploying volunteers to phone bank, canvass door-to-door and message potential voters in the area. A GOTV campaign will encourage those in a given area to vote and may not perform a hard-sell for any particular candidate or issue unless prompted.
If you would like to be a part of a particular candidate’s GOTV effort, please visit the candidate’s campaign website for further information.
Registered Nurse Registered Voter Buttons and Vot-ER Healthy Democracy Kits
Please click here to get Registered Nurse, Registered Voter buttons to wear as you volunteer, support and engage leading up to the elections.
Post your activity surrounding the upcoming election as you wear a button, using #Nursesvote hashtag and we will add your activity to our social media feeds and our social media corner!
Please also take the opportunity to order a free Healthy Democracy Kit from our partners at Vot-ER. You can proudly wear a “Ready to Vote?” lanyard and a voter registration badge backer which includes a QR-code and SMS shortcode to help colleagues or patients register to vote or request an absentee ballot. The Vot-ER site guides your patients from there! Vot-ER Healthy Democracy Kits are created and shipped at no cost to you.
The American Nurses Association PAC (ANA-PAC)
Learn more about how the ANA-PAC uses the voluntary contributions received by ANA members for political purposes to represent the 4.3 million registered nurses throughout the country.
Please click here to download the full Nurses Vote ‘How to Get Involved’ Toolkit.