Registration

R

REGISTRATION

Registration is half the battle, though it is often the aspect of electoral engagement that sees the most effort, as it is easy to report an immediate measure of success. Most voter registration efforts focus on why a person should register to vote, while very little goes into preparing and training students to understand how to register.  Proper training is essential for maximum impact in voter registration efforts.

Summary

  • Conduct training sessions for voter registration on campus
  • Participate in National Voter Registration Day
  • Employ best practices for registering students on community college campuses

From Election Imperatives:

Invest in the right kind of training.

Invest time and resources to train coalition members, students, and staff working on election activities on behalf of the institution in the arts of intergroup communications, controversial issue discussions, and collaboration. Rethink common tasks such as setting up voter registration tables so that they are intentionally staffed by volunteers who reflect the diversity of the campus. Encourage students to work collaboratively across differences of social identity, political perspective, and lived experiences; strategically cluster trained volunteers.

Resources:

Conduct Training Sessions for Voter Registration on Campus

For successful voter registration efforts, training is essential.  It is recommended that anyone who participates in voter registration drives is trained for effectiveness and to ensure nonpartisan efforts.  The following training materials are recommended resources that can be adapted to your needs and college community:

“In a three-day period in October 2018, 423 students registered to vote.  277 of them were in one day.  The greatest factor that contributed to that success is our campus’ ongoing relationship with the registrars from the League of Women Voters.”

-Sharon Wettengel, Tarrant County College-Southeast Campus, TX

Organized by Nonprofit Vote, National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday held on the fourth Tuesday of September, in which volunteers, campuses, and organizations from all over the country “hit the streets” in a single day of coordinated voter registration efforts.  The goal of NVRD is to create broad awareness of voter registration opportunities and to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to vote. Leveraging NVRD has proven effective in campus voter registration efforts.

NVRD has a collection of resources to help organize events and activities leading up to National Voter Registration Day including an organizer toolkit for running successful drives, communications toolkit for promoting NVRD, training webinars, press and social media materials including swag. – https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/partner-tools/

Best Practices for Registering Students on Community College Campuses

  1. Leverage campus Events to promote voter registration
  2. Take advantage of every student-led convening opportunity to conduct voter registration drives. These can include:
    • Constitution and Citizenship Day
    • College orientation
    • Campus life fairs
    • Student government and student club events and activities
  3. Leverage the community college student’s connections with the local community and their neighborhoods for voter registration- train to turn students into voting ambassadors.
  4. Encourage faculty to adopt voter registration drives as service-learning projects.

Many students are new to voting and aren’t aware of the process. As a result, students have a big learning curve and have a lot of skills to learn. They need help learning not just where and when to vote, but how to look up their legislative districts and the candidates on their ballot. They also need to learn how to research, how to identify the issues that matter to them and learn about candidates to decide who they think will best represent their interests in government. Students also need to learn that they have a lot of power to influence their decision-makers in government beyond Election Day.

-Lori Moog, Raritan Valley Community College, NJ

Virtual Dialogue: The Power of Community Colleges in Voter Registration

The Engage the Election project presented a series of virtual dialogues on the electoral power of community colleges. This three-part series featured community college practitioners sharing best practices from their institutions, followed by an open dialogue concerning the unique challenges and opportunities in voter registration, education, and turnout specific to community colleges.  In this dialogue, we discussed The Power of Community Colleges in Voter Registration. 

Date: October 4, 2018

Discussants:

Connie Jorgensen, Professor of Political Science, Piedmont Virginia Community College, VA
Michael Dean, Executive Director, LeadMN
Dr. Patty Robinson, Faculty Director of Civic and Community Engagement Initiatives, College of the Canyons, CA

National Voter Registration Day 2018

On September 25, 2018, the 14 community colleges who are part of Engage the Election Project registered over 1,600 new voters as part of National Voter Registration Day. National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday celebrating our democracy.  It was first observed in 2012 and has been growing in popularity every year since. National Voter Registration Day seeks to create broad awareness of voter registration opportunities to reach tens of thousands of voters who may not register otherwise.  Held on the fourth Tuesday of September, National Voter Registration Day will take place on September 24, 2019.

This work is immensely impactful and represents just part of the good work done by community colleges and Campus Compact members toward registering new voters on National Voter Registration day and beyond in advance of registration deadlines.

Click HERE to read about the results of this work.