Common Cause: electoral engagement

In this issue, we partnered with our friends at the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge to bring you stories and resources that illustrate ways higher education can encourage student voting and help our communities stay engaged in the democratic process.

Empowering Campuses to Engage Students in the Democratic Proccess

Guest contributor: Ryan Drysdale, Director of Impact & State Networks, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge

Lindsey Whitcomb and LaShawn Staples at the TrioSSS office at Owens Community College in Ohio
Lindsey Whitcomb and LaShawn Staples at the TrioSSS office at Owens Community College in Ohio

All of us working in higher education know that today’s college students are plugged in and passionate about creating social change—online, in their communities and at the ballot box. The 2022 midterm elections saw the second-highest youth voter turnout for a midterm in almost three decades, and GenZ voters are turning out at higher rates than previous generations.

But there is still work to be done. Even though youth voter turnout reached a near-record high in 2022, more than three-quarters of young people did not vote. Young voters, especially college students, face barriers that include a patchwork of state voter ID laws, a lack of information about where and how to vote, and the need to rearrange their school or work schedule in order to vote.

Under the Higher Education Act, colleges and universities have a legal obligation to make a good-faith effort to help students register to vote. Our team at the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) is working to help institutions honor this commitment and ensure that every student has the ability to cast their ballot. ALL IN provides structure, support and recognition to nearly 1,000 institutions across the country (including more than 300 members of Campus Compact!) as they work to make nonpartisan democratic engagement a defining feature of campus life. Campuses who join ALL IN commit to creating a campus action plan to increase student voter registration and turnout, and receive support throughout the process. Campuses can participate with their peers as a part of our state, city, and athletic conference voting challenges, and learn from similar institutions as part of our communities of practice. ALL IN works with campus leaders like college presidents, faculty, and administrators to set the tone for their campuses by pledging to achieve full student voter participation. Finally, our nonpartisan voter hub at provides campuses and students with all of the information they need to register, find their polling place, and research what’s on their ballot.

Through their action plans, campuses are implementing multiple strategies to increase student voter registration and turnout. These can include setting up a custom voter registration portal for their campus, organizing nonpartisan student voting groups; implementing Ask Every Student strategies into existing campus systems like first-year courses and new student orientation; celebrating Civic Holidays like National Voter Registration Day, Voter Education Week, and Vote Early Day; sending text and email reminders to students about election deadlines and information; and so much more.

With a critical presidential election just around the corner, now is the moment for campuses to make a plan for how they will engage their student body around voting. The first opportunity for campuses to submit their 2024 action plans is coming up on December 15th. Not sure if your campus is ALL IN? Take a look at our participating campuses and encourage your campus to join us in 2024.

Electoral Engagement In Action

These stories from Campus Compact members and partners illustrate different approaches to civic engagement and how we can create impact in communities.

bridgewater college student

Bridgewater College Professor Secures Grant to Boost Voter Education and Engagement

Dr. Bobbi Gentry, Associate Professor of Political Science at Bridgewater College, received a grant to pursue a project titled “BC Votes: Creating Civic Leaders of Tomorrow” and continue work begun with the Valley Votes Project, a project focused on building trust and improving confidence in elections. More →


bowdoin college

Bowdoin Votes makes local voting accessible

On Tuesday, November 7, rain or shine, Bowdoin Votes, a nonpartisan group at Bowdoin College that aims to increase student democratic engagement, will spend 13 hours running shuttles from Moulton Circle to Brunswick Junior High School to help Bowdoin students cast their votes. More →


tisch college at tufts university

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University releases report on broadband internet and civic engagement

The new report details how broadband internet is crucial to civic participation and includes recommendations for strengthening civic infrastructure to promote a more equitable democracy.More →


ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge logo


Celebrating Campus Student Voting Work

The biennial ALL IN Awards Ceremony recognizes campuses (including many Compact members) that demonstrate excellence in student democratic engagement. Join virtually on 11/14 to learn more and celebrate higher education’s collective achievements in encouraging and enabling student voting.More →

  • The U.S. Department of Education recently clarified that Federal Work-Study funds can be used to pay students to do nonpartisan voter engagement work. Learn more about how you can start and sustain a nonpartisan student voting group on your campus. | More →

  • Miami Dade College, along with many campuses across the country, is recruiting students to serve as election workers so that our polling places run efficiently and to ensure that everyone’s vote is counted. | More →

Take action: Electoral engagement

These resources and model programs illustrate just some of the ways your campus community can contribute to strengthening our democracy
  • Visit Campus Compact’s Education for Democracy knowledge hub for a comprehensive list of tools campuses can use to prepare students to engage constructively and effectively in civic life.

  • Check out the new guide from ACE that offers best practices for college and university student voter engagement.

  • Encourage students to check their voter registration, find their polling location, and research what’s on their ballot at Plus, ALL IN provides tools to help get out the vote on social media—access their nonpartisan social media toolkit to help encourage student voting on Election Day 2023.

Subscribe to the bi-weekly Campus Compact member digest

Receive info about upcoming events, current opportunities, and resources available exclusively to Campus Compact members. Contact us to join our members-only mailing list.

umass amherst campus

Join Campus Compact

To leverage the full benefits of Campus Compact at your institution, join our coalition. Campus Compact membership offers valuable information, powerful networks, and opportunities to work collectively with peers across the country.

Join Campus Compact