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Our Methodology

How we can Help

The Portuguese American Citizenship Project's goal is the non-partisan promotion of civic involvement. The methodology is straightforward.  First, an analysis defines the political strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s membership by linking parishioner list with the voter registration data provided by the local government.   Surveys can also be conducted to determine the citizen/non-citizen ratio among non-registered members.

The next step is for the organization’s leaders to plan campaign strategies to promote citizenship, register new voters, and conduct get-out-the-vote promotions.  Citizenship drives, posters, media exposure and voter reminders are part of the menu of options.

Finally, the Project measures the impact of any campaign by analyzing before and after counts of the organization’s registered voters and voter turnout in every election.

Additionally, the Project promotes civic awareness in these elections by providing a template for candidates’ nights and follow up actions to be performed by the participating organizations. These remind elected officials of the large presence of the Portuguese American community and ensure that a dialogue continues so that promises made to the community are not forgotten.

Linking Organizations to Voter Registration

Our software links your organization's membership list with official voter registration and voter participation lists. It lets you identify which of your members are registered to vote and which are not. It also allows you to see who, among your organization's registered voters, has actually voted (but never for whom they voted).

These critical facts give you the information you need...

  • to assess your membership's current level of civic participation;
  • to concentrate your organization's human and financial resources where they are needed most;
  • to build a campaign that is within your organization's capacities - one that you can repeat, year after year.

The Use of Databases in Campaigns

The purpose of introducing these membership/voter registration databases is to create a methodology for an organization to conduct political campaigns which are well within its financial and volunteer capabilities.

To be effective, these campaigns must be repeated year after year. To be repeatable, the method cannot exhaust the organization and its members. Otherwise the effort will collapse and the problem of political participation will quickly lapse back into the status quo.

Information on voter registration and voter history for an organization's membership can be used in many ways, including:

  • Correspondence - If an organization has decided to promote citizenship and civic participation, it can send a letter to unregistered members encouraging them to become U.S. citizens or registered to vote as appropriate. Because the database has separated the membership into registered and unregistered individuals, the letters can be addressed to only those who need it - those who are not registered.

  • Voter Cards - The database can also be utilized to send out voter cards reminding registered voters of an upcoming election. The cards can be constructed to also inform the registered member of his/her polling location. These have a significant effect on voter turnout, especially in local elections and primary elections where there is little media interest. Included below is a sample voter registration card.