“We know there are some civic, church and club groups that may want to hold their own voter registration events, and we want to offer this class to help them,” said Linda Phillips, administrator of elections for SCEC.
People who have completed the class are deputized for a one-year term as a registrar for the SCEC. While anyone can hold a voter registration event, unless a deputy registrar, or member of SCEC staff is present, the registration is not considered to be an “in-person” registration. Those who do not register in person must vote the first time in person and are not eligible to receive an absentee ballot.
About 30 people were deputized at the March 14 class. Each class lasts about 90 minutes and is held at the SCEC Operations Center located at 980 Nixon Drive, Memphis. The three remaining class dates are:
- 10 a.m. March 18
- 10 a.m. March 23
- 6:30 p.m. March 23
“We want to offer the classes at night and on the weekend, so that people who are unavailable during the daytime will be able to attend,” Phillips said.
There are strict guidelines for conducting voter registration. In addition to making sure people complete the voter registration applications properly, election officials are barred from partisan political activity while registering people to vote.
“The Election Commission is neutral,” Phillips said. “A deputy registrar is charged with registering anyone who wishes to be registered; they cannot refuse to register someone from a specific political party,” Phillips said. “Anyone who does that will have their certification as a deputy registrar revoked.”
In addition to agreement to party-neutral behavior, people who want to become deputy registrars must be registered voters in Shelby County.
Deputy registrars agree to submit voter registration applications to an SCEC office within five days of receiving them or before the deadline to register to vote in an upcoming election, whichever comes first.
People who want to attend the class must register at least 24 hours in advance. For more information, email email@example.com or call the SCEC office at (901) 222-1200.