Today, the Campus Vote Project, a project of the Fair Elections Legal Network, held an online town hall to discuss what students, campus administrators and election officials can do to turn out the student vote this November. Moderated by Dan Vicuna, coordinator of the Campus Vote Project, the town hall featured the following panelists:
- Carmen Berkeley, executive director of the Generational Alliance;
- Tiffany Loftin, president of the United States Students Association;
- Da’Quan Love, president of the Virginia NAACP Youth and College Division;
- Andy MacCracken of the National Campus Leadership Council;
- Raquel Ortega, field associate at Choice USA;
- Mark Ritchie, Minnesota secretary of state;
- Gena Shelton, Ohio Voice and Campus Vote Project Ohio;
- Michael Stinziano, Ohio state representative and former director of the Franklin County Board of Elections; and
- David Tjaden, chair of the National Education Association Student Chapters.
As Dan Vicuna noted, in 200887 percent of college students who registered to vote actually cast a ballot. Registering students to vote is the biggest challenge to getting them to the polls. Mark Ritchie discussed some of the ways that states have both helped and hindered student voting through legislation. Michael Stinziano noted the importance of providing students with information about voting rules such as registration deadlines, residency requirements, voter ID, and early voting. He added that since students move frequently, they need to be informed about re-registering in their new community before the deadline. Da’Quan Love noted that the voter registration process can also generate misinformation, which is one of the biggest barriers students on his campus face.
Andy MacCracken said that building strong coalitions, working with campus administrators, and identifying simple tactics – such as implementing online voter registration on the school’s website –has been a successful model for many campuses. Carmen Berkley agreed that coalitions of groups – even unlikely partners like College Democrats and College Republicans – have been successful in employing the grassroots tactics to get students out to vote.
Whatever you do, remember the sage advice that Mark Ritchie gave to student organizers across the country: make sure your student voting event has pizza.
Watch the full Campus Vote Project Town Hall on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPENtnqBWqw.