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Winegar: Candidates Should All Help Voters Register

New DFP sponsor Mark Winegar, Democratic candidate for District 17 House, submits this guest column on voter registration drives. Ad money doesn’t buy post space, but candidate Winegar offers all candidates some good advice: one of the best ways to get more votes is to register more voters!

Mark Winegar
Mark Winegar

I was shocked when a veteran politician recently suggested conducting a state-wide voter registration drive. I replied, “What have you been waiting for?”

Every candidate ought to be registering voters. It is the best way to demonstrate your sincere interest in being of service. I carry a stack with me wherever I go. Be ready when opportunity knocks. I registered about 45 first-time voters just this past Friday.

Help applicants complete their forms. Advise them on questions they must complete and ones they can skip.

Be sure to advise them on question #6 because it is confusing. Many will be happy to learn the last four digits of their social security number alone will suffice. This is a golden opportunity to warn them about revealing their full social security number.

Click here to access official South Dakota voter registration form in PDF form!
Click here to access the official South Dakota voter registration form in PDF format!

Advise them to enter “Democrat”, “Republican”, or “Independent” for their party so they can vote in a primary.

End by checking the form for completeness, giving the applicant your business card, and thanking them. With practice you can get pretty fast at this. I have seen it done in a minute but prefer to take my time to build rapport.

County Auditors will be happy when you arrive with a stack of registration forms. Mine supplies me with more forms before I leave. Don’t worry about routing them to different counties. Your auditor will do that.

The payoff? Regardless of political party I have built a relationship with a voter. They know who I am and that I cared enough to register them. Votes will follow [Mark Winegar, post to Dakota Free Press, 2016.03.21].

Candidates, we can all do public service even before we get elected. Get a stack of official voter registration forms, and let’s empower our neighbors to make a difference!


  1. Craig 2016-03-21 12:56

    Mr. Winegar has some solid advice here and I have no objection, but I would like to see us take it step further and enact some form of universal voter registration. The federal government as well as the state already has a lot of information on each citizen in the form of tax records, driver’s licenses, etc. so it wouldn’t be difficult to just register everyone systemically rather than forcing them to fill out a form and send it in.

    Perhaps the only challenge would be the selection of a political party since that cannot be done without consulting with the citizen, but I’d think we could accommodate this by allowing the person to select that upon the first time they vote.

    Clearly universal voter registration must be a good idea when you have groups like The Heritage Foundation arguing against it. I question the motives of anyone who thinks making it easier to vote is somehow a bad thing.

  2. leslie 2016-03-21 17:17

    the millenials dropped the ball in 2014 and got snookered by Kochs, ALEC and Fossil fuels’ secret anti-wind/solary energy agenda, and as a result the Republicans got the house and the senate. we have seen the havoc Republicans are wreaking since then. there are dozens of articles here coming to this conclusion.

    for example:

    Will the ‘Pissed-Off Generation’ Shape the Midterms in November? 06.01 2014

    did they not register or did they vote Republican in 2014? Bernie is fine with me if he receives the nomination, but if not, Hillary MUST at all costs be elected. We boomers will vote for her. Gen X and Millenials MUST vote Democratic if they want a better life for their kids. Their lives are worse now than their boomer parents. Only voting Democratic will change that for the better.

    The Republicans are hoping you think you know more than your parents, and are planning to HARVEST your vote. But, Obama has been a godsend despite producing less change than we need. don’t lose the game in November. REPUBLICANS are counting on bringing you over to the their DARK SIDE.

    every single vote counts.

    also for example:

    Utilities Exert Influence Through Universities to Sway Regulatory and Political Debate 01.21.2016

    Echoes of Flint, as North Carolina Water Pollution Is Swept Under the Rug 03.16.2016

  3. Darin Larson 2016-03-21 21:29

    Thanks for the good advice, Mark!

  4. Wayne B. 2016-03-22 08:23

    Craig, the voter registration process is also tied into renewing your drivers license – you have an opportunity to fill one in as well with minimal hassle. Heck, it can even be done online now.

    I don’t want to come off as callous, but if someone doesn’t want to take the time to register, then frankly they’re probably just fine to self-select out of the civics project we call democracy.

  5. Stumcfar 2016-03-22 09:47

    There should be a nation wide voter ID. If you want to vote, then get the voter ID to prove you are eligible to vote and eligible to vote in the spot you are voting. If people want a driver’s license they go through a process, if people want welfare, they certainly know how to navigate that process and complete the proper paper work. Why would we not want our Democratic process to be the same? It isn’t voter suppression it protecting our democracy. Don’t wait until the last minute either, get the proper paperwork and ID ahead of time and we wouldn’t hear about people being turned away at the polls.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-22 11:32

    Ah, Stu the conservative crier comes with a big government solution. Why not no voter registration at all, just show up, check your name, and vote? North Dakota does that, and North Dakota appears not to be a hotbed of election fraud.

  7. Stumcfar 2016-03-23 09:08

    Then let’s not require ID’s at liquor stores, no library card, just show up and take books, no ID’s for welfare, anyone just show up, need it or not, no driver’s license, anyone can drive. For you liberals who always think you are protecting democracy, yet you don’t want to protect the most important part of democracy, the voting process! I laughed last night because MSNBC was whining about one the state’s GOP voting last night that they were allowing people to vote later than had earlier been announced because of the high turnout. It is okay to stop Republicans from voting, but any voting laws that would treat everyone equally, that for some reason effect the irresponsible Democratic voters more is deemed bad! Hypocrites!

  8. mike from iowa 2016-03-23 09:17

    Stumpy-liquor stores don’t require guns, but wingnuts and the NRA will soon require stores to allow them,robbers included. Gawd, It is liberating being a total idiot

  9. Craig 2016-03-23 10:42

    stum seems confused. He doesn’t seem to understand that voting is a right – not a privilege. Buying alcohol, checking out books from the library, or obtaining a drivers license are not protected rights. Those are privileges.

    However, if you provide lists of everyone in town that could potentially buy alcohol at every liquor store, and if someone walks in and is able to attest to their name, address, birthdate, and social security number prior to picking up a six pack – I guess I’d be ok with it too. Of course it would also be a felony to buy a six pack with someone else’s information, and if two people were caught trying to buy a six pack with the same information there would be an investigation which could land someone in jail.

    Sure – sounds like a neat concept. I can’t imagine why we haven’t done is sooner as clearly it would be easy to maintain lists of potential alcohol purchasers at every grocery store, liquor store, and convenience store in the entire area.

    Sorry stum, but adding MORE barriers between people and their protected right to vote is not the solution. You and I may drive and have the flexibility of heading down to the County Administration building to fill out some paperwork and get our picture taken for a “voter ID”, but not everyone is so lucky. There are lot of elderly and disabled residents who struggle to make it to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment. There are even more working poor who don’t have the luxury of taking a day off work to stand in line in a government facility which closes the doors at 5:00PM sharp. Or do you support longer weekday hours or Saturday hours (aka: expansion of government services) to accommodate your fellow potential voter?

    But hey – if it isn’t an inconvenience for you personally, it must not be an inconvenience to anyone else either right? Such is the thought process of the “I’ve got mine” compassionate conservative.

  10. leslie 2016-03-23 11:05

    ” For you liberals who always think you are protecting democracy”

    we are all people, you and me. republicans cannot win the next election without restricted voting. that is your nationwide strategy. a republican in the white house will be devastating. all those candidates have been telling us what they’ll do for the last year. “we liberals” are going to prevent that even though you will vote to protect the 1%. democracy is pretty much non-functional right now. so is capitalism.

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