Forbes, Clarissa Unger:
For almost five years, we have worked with institutions of higher education, nonprofits, and student voters themselves to envision what truly accessible voting might look like for college students. These efforts include integrating voter registration into processes that touch all students, such as class registration or campus orientation, a program known as Ask Every Student (AES). The Ask Every Student program is a collaboration between SLSV, Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, and NASPA. Supporting partner organizations include Aliento, Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Compact North Carolina, Democracy Works, Hillel International, LeadMN, Maine Students Vote, Scholars Strategy Network, Student PiRGs, and Tennessee Campus Network. They include bringing polling locations to campuses so that student voting isn't hampered by the inconvenience of finding a way and the time to get to a distant polling location. It includes asking students and supporting them as they take up the mantle to power our polling locations as poll workers, a critical effort given that our traditional poll workers are at high risk for COVID-19.
The uncertainty around whether most students will even be safe enough to be on campuses this fall means constant planning and pivoting. But this is the moment that our network has been working towards, one that demands creativity in implementation and commitment to access — no matter the barriers. Even as political organizations, candidates, and campaigns consider how to connect with young voters without direct in-person contact, our campus partners are piloting and perfecting strategies that will lead to higher student voter participation.
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