Last-Minute Activities for the Campus Vote Initiative
Campus Compact has developed these last-minute strategies to help students and others on campus create nonpartisan initiatives to encourage voter registration and participation.
Publicize Poll Locations
Make sure students know where they should go to cast their vote. Distributing maps and/or directions via campus mail or via e-mail is a good strategy. Displaying posters with clearly marked maps is another. Find your local polling place.
Walk to the Polls
Encourage students to meet in groups and walk to the polls together. It is a good idea to establish meeting places and times.
Rides to the Polls
If polls are farther away, utilize campus transportation resources to provide shuttle service to the polls. If you provide shuttle service, make sure you clearly advertise a timetable for pick-ups/drop-offs.
Election Night Open House
Some campuses host an open house where students and faculty watch the election returns come in together. Make sure televisions and couches are available, as well as computers with Internet connectivity (for up-to-the-minute results). If you display a large map of the U.S., results can be recorded as they come in. See Find Your Voice / Make Your Choice from Central Michigan University. You can spice up the open house with games or political trivia questions with prizes handed out for correct answers. Keep up with candidate news and get discussion ideas from ServiceVote.
Publicize/Explain Ballot Initiatives
In states where there are constitutional amendments, referenda or other ballot initiatives, it is a good idea to make sure students are aware of them and their potential impact. It is also helpful to paraphrase complicated initiatives in plain language so that voters are less intimidated and so they can get a clear idea of what a “yes” or “no” vote means.
Some campuses encourage faculty to dismiss students from class early on Election Day so that they have time to vote.
In the days leading up to the election, send out campus-wide e-mails reminding students to vote. These e-mails are also a good way to publicize polling locations and to disseminate information regarding referenda and other ballot initiatives.
SMS (Text Messages) Campaign
As more students use text messaging as a means for communication, campuses can take advantage of the new technology to remind students to vote.