Take Action

Calling Elected Officials

Fill in the blanks below for a script to use when calling state officials (such as state legislators or the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Secretary of State) and expressing your support for voting rights restoration.

Hello. My name is [Name], from [City/Town]. I’m calling to ask [State Official] to support [Bill #], which will restore the right to vote to thousands of citizens in our state. Research shows that civic participation helps people who have been incarcerated return to our communities, rather than our prisons. Further, as citizen of [State Name], I am deeply concerned that restricting the voting rights of people who have completed their sentences disproportionately excludes the voices of communities of color and low-income communities. [State Name] must work to expand access to our democracy and encourage participation from all citizens in our political process, because when some voices are excluded, we all miss out. Thank you.

 

Fill in the blanks below for a script to use when calling state officials (such as state legislators or the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Secretary of State) to thank them for championing voting rights restoration.

Hello. My name is [Name], from [City/Town]. I’m calling to thank [State Official] for fighting to pass [Bill #], which will will restore the right to vote to thousands of citizens in our state. As a citizen of [State Name], it is very important to me that everyone in our state has access to our political process, and I appreciate [State Official]'s work to help people who have been incarcerated return to our communities, rather than our prisons, by restoring their right to vote and engaging them in our democracy. [Bill #] is especially important for communities of color and low-income communities, because restricting the right to vote for formerly incarcerated people has a disproportionately negative effect on these communities. I encourage [State Official] to continue supporting [Bill #], standing for all the communities in our state, and protecting all our voices in the political process. Thank you.

Phone Banking in Your Community

Phone banking is a great way to talk to people in your community about voting rights restoration. Follow these key steps to organize a successful phone bank, and check our sample script below.

  1. Choose a location that has everything you need. Make sure you have access to phones, places to charge mobile phones, materials for keeping track of your calls, and necessities like bathrooms and parking for your volunteers.
  2. Recruit volunteers. They can be your friends, family, and neighbors, people from your church or your workplace - anyone who wants to help protect your state’s democracy! Make sure to send out reminders before the event so they know where and when to show up.
  3. Prepare materials ahead of time. You will need:
    • Call lists: Pull names and phone numbers from petitions you’ve circulated, organizations in your coalition, or groups in your community (i.e. church, parent-teacher associations, etc.).
    • A call script: Fill in the blanks in the sample below for a script that your volunteers can use while making their calls.
    • Snacks! If your location allows it, make sure to bring refreshments for your volunteers.
  4. Help your volunteers get to know each other! Encourage volunteers to introduce themselves and talk about why they are volunteering before you begin.
  5. Keep a record. Write down who you’ve talked to, who supports same day registration, and who wants to get involved with the campaign.
  6. Debrief. At the end, take the time to reflect with your volunteers and talk about highs, lows, and ways you can improve.

 

Sample Script: Fill in the blanks below for a script that your volunteers can use while making their calls.

Hi! My name is [Name]. I’m from [City/Town], and I’d like to talk to you about voting rights restoration. Do you know what same day registration is?

Voting rights restoration gives formerly incarcerated people a voice at the ballot box once they have completed their sentences and are living and working in our communities. Research shows that restoring the right to vote helps people with past convictions successfully reintegrate into their communities. We need to empower Americans who have completed their sentences to participate in the political process, because when some voices are excluded, we all miss out.

Sample questions:

  • Do you support voting rights restoration for [State name]?
  • Would you be interested in joining the fight to pass voting rights restoration in our state?
  • Would you be interested in receiving email or mail updates on our campaign to pass voting rights restoration? [If yes, record contact information]
  • Would you be interested in contributing to our campaign?

Sample Action Alert

Fill in the blanks below for an email action alert. You can also share action alerts on facebook and link to the alert on twitter.

Subject: ACTION NEEDED: [Action Name]

Body:

Dear [Name/Friend],

Your voice matters. Join activists from all over [State Name] in the fight for voting rights restoration, a program that gives formerly incarcerated people a voice at the ballot box once they have completed their sentences and are living and working in our communities.

At [Time] on [Day of the Week, Month + Date], we are gathering together to [Include a short description of your action, i.e. "attend public hearings to testify on behalf of our communities about the need to expand access to voting for all"]. Together, we can empower Americans who have completed their sentences to participate in the political process, because when some voices are excluded, we all miss out.

Can we count on you? RSVP today in the form below!

[Link to an online form or survey*]

Forward together, not one step back!

[Organization/Campaign Name]

*Online forms include Google formsSurveyMonkey surveys, and more. Make sure to ask for names, phone numbers, email addresses, and street addresses, which can be helpful for other actions and petitions, as well as any logistical information you need. For example, if you will be serving food at an event, you should ask for details like preference and dietary restrictions.

Sample Petition

Sample Sign-On Letter

Writing to Elected Officials