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Checklist of Things to do and Who to Contact to Engage Students in Elections

 

By Paul Rogat Loeb

 

Created from Campus Compact's 2008 Campus Vote Initiative, the main hub for national non-partisan campus voter engagement efforts. Created by Campus Vote Initiative consultant Paul Loeb.

Get Students Registered to Vote. Help them register each other. (e.g. Occidental College, San Francisco State

Encourage On and Off-Campus Engagement about Issues, Ballot Initiatives and Candidates

  • Hold events & develop materials to educate studentscontact student programs and organizations (for co-sponsorships) and facilities (for locations).
  • Create forums for student dialogue
  • Publicize/explain ballot initiatives (e.g. design materials, handout handbills, posters)
  • Incorporate election-related discussions into classes (e.g. freshman seminar)
  • Encourage students to volunteer with political campaigns consistent with their political beliefs
    • Connect student volunteers with national and local campaigns and their campus representatives —campus service should be a central resource, include information on College Republicans and College Democrats, McCain's and Obama's national websites, ways to get involved in local and statewide political races.
    • Have students participate in off-campus projects, like voter registration efforts in underrepresented communities. (e.g. Baldwin Wallace project that registered 700 students at local jails). Work through Student Activities or service learning center. Contact the political parties, groups like League of Women Voters and Project Vote
    • If students want to make an impact in other states, remind them that both parties and campaigns have remote voter calling programs where volunteers in states with less tightly contested elections can use their cell minutes to call people in states that are more contested.
  • Link with campus service learning and civic engagement efforts
    • Incorporate election volunteering into service learning courses (e.g. freshman seminar) — contact service learning center and faculty groups
    • Create election-related service project (e.g.  community educational forum)
    • Organize service days where campaigns participate in campus service projects — contact campaigns and service projects
  • Organize events (debates, fairs, forums, screenings of debates,  etc.) with candidates and campaign representatives (e.g. barbecue, political action days , DebateWatch) — contact student groups and academic departments such as political science, geography & communications
  • Create website with info and links about issues

Help Students Vote on (or before) Election Day
Before election

Right before or during election

    • Set up phone banks to remind students to vote
      • Purchase copy of voter file — contact county election board
      • Use lists you’ve kept from voter registration drives
    • Help students get to their off campus polling sites (organize walking, rides to polls)
    • Encourage faculty to release students early from class on election day
    • Send broad email, text message, etc. to remind students to vote
    • Publicize polling places
    • Election night open houses (e.g. Central Michigan U)
    • Poster, leaflet and use other creative ways to visibly remind people to vote
    • Find ways for the more active students to enlist their less-engaged peers, and ensure that every registered student votes

     

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