By George Wiland (George has been a deputy voter registrar with the Tulsa County Election Board for over 25 years, registering more than 20,000 voters in area churches in that period.)
Over a period of more than 25 years, a very good rapport has been established with area churches to conduct non-partisan voter registrations on a given Sunday (or Saturday).
The church provides a table, with a tablecloth, and 2 or 3 chairs, and the Voter Registrar provides everything else.
This includes voter registration forms, pens, applications for absentee ballots, and the following signs, as deemed appropriate
1) REGISTER HERE TO VOTE - Today Only-!
2) If you have MOVED since you last voted, you MUST Register to Vote
3) Ask for a SAMPLE BALLOT
4) Ask About ABSENTEE BALLOTS
5) If You Were Born Before MM-DD-YY (add 1 day to the next statewide election), You Can Register to Vote
After the voter has completed the form, it is reviewed to assure that all required information has been provided.
Explanation is offered that they will receive their new voter card by mail from their county election board in about 2 - 3 weeks.
--- It will identify the Precinct and Polling Place where they will go vote on [MARCH 6] (or, the next statewide election).
--- Voter is also advised to take their voter ID card, or a photo ID with them when they go to vote.
A SAMPLE BALLOT is provided to the Voter, which is compiled from public sources, to include all candidates, ages, websites, and phone numbers.
The SAMPLE BALLOT should include contact information for Democrats and Republicans for COUNTY, STATE, and NATIONAL phone numbers and websites.
There should never be any candidate provided materials during a non-partisan voter registration.
Comparison of candidates may be provided if there is no recommendation to vote for, or against a candidate. Such as: Oklahomans For Life; Family Research Council; Christian Coalition; Club for Growth; among others.
The initial contact with a church, and its pastor, is made in a letter by U.S. Mail, with an offer to conduct the non-partisan voter registration, providing 3 or 4 Sundays in the next 6 weeks, or so.
If there is no response in about 10 days, a follow-up phone call is made to emphasize the offer.
An attachment is included that states:
You Should Register to Vote If You are a U.S. Citizen, and You:
-- Have recently turned age 18, or you will before the next election
-- Have moved since you last voted
-- Wish to Change Your PARTY Registration
-- Wish to change your NAME
-- Have recently moved to Oklahoma from another state
All necessary materials are kept in a briefcase. Set-up is usually about 45 minutes, or so, before the first service begins.
The registration concludes when no other voters are seeking to register, following the end of the last service, if 2, or more services.
It is important that any signs placed on a wall, or near an entrance should have approval.
Remember, that the volunteer Voter Registrar is a guest in the church, and should be more than willing to comply with directions, or exclusions that may be identified by the host church.
All completed voter registrations should be submitted to the local county election board in person, or by US Mail, within 2 or 3 days following.
As time permits, any voter who registers "No Party," or, "Independent," should be counseled that Independents may NOT vote in Primary Elections in Oklahoma!
George Wiland is a Constituent Representative in the office of Oklahoma's First District Congressman, John Sullivan, for 10 years. He has BA degrees in History and Biblical Literature from Oral Roberts University; and a Master of Science degree in Management from Southern Nazarene University. He has been a deputy voter registrar with the Tulsa County Election Board for over 25 years, registering more than 20,000 voters in area churches in that period.