The Rise of Get Out the Vote Campaigns on College Campuses

This midterm election is undoubtedly one of the most high stakes of its kind in recent history. The country as a whole is engaged in ways that we have not seen for quite some time. What role do young people play in that engagement? Potentially, a significant one. According to the census, only 23 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 participated in the 2014 midterms; however, research suggests these numbers are subject to change, especially through the support of heightened civic engagement efforts by the higher education community.

In April, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) released the top 50 congressional races in their 2018 Youth Electoral Significance Index rankings. These are races of which young people have the highest potential to have a decisive impact in pockets all across the country. CIRCLE later shared the top 10 statewide races—Senate and gubernatorial—where youth could shape the results.

1. IA 1st
2. MN 1st
3. MN 3rd
4. MI 11th
5. CO 6th
6. MN 8th
7. IL 6th
8. NE 2nd
9. MN 2nd
10. CA 39th

11. NJ 11th
12. NY 22nd
13. CA 49th
14. NH 1st
15. NY 19th
16. NJ 5th
17. CA 48th
18. WA 8th
19. IL 12th
20. VA 10th

21. AZ 2nd
22. ME 2nd
23. KS 2nd
24. CA 25th
25. MN 7th
26. MI 8th
27. TX 7th
28. KY 6th
29. AZ 1st
30. IA 3rd

31. MT at-large
32. NV 3rd
33. CA 10th
34. NC 13th
35. CA 45th
36. KS 3rd
37. TX 23rd
38. TX 32nd
39. UT 4th
40. VA 2nd

41. VA 7th
42. IL 13th
43. NJ 7th
44. GA 6th
45. IA 2nd
46. NY 10th
47. CA 24th
48. CA 7th
49. NY 11th
50. WI 3rd

Polls are reporting substantial increases in potential young voters. A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press and University of Chicago’s NORC found that 32 percent of young voters surveyed indicated they would certainly vote and that 56 percent indicated were likely to. An NBC News/GenForward survey released in August found that 55 percent of millennials either probably or definitely will vote in November. If these numbers bear out, we could see a 30 percent increase in young voter participation. 

Campuses play an important role in helping to register young voters, increase candidate awareness, and get young people to the polls. A large number of organizations have already partnered with campuses to aid in the effort to institutionalize voter engagement through the Voter Friendly Campus program.

If your campus is not involved, there is still time. NASPA provides a large number of resources to assist with the effort. Below are a number of detailed resources. Let’s mobilize our students to be heard in November! 

New Voter Engagement Materials

Studies have shown that making a pledge to vote increases voter turnout and that receiving back your own pledge increases turnout rates even further! Additionally, NASPA offers posters with personalized links to the Campus Vote Project’s student voting guides for all 50 states and D.C. as well as “back-to-class” social media graphics you can share with your campus community:

Ready to Work Elections?

Election officials are desperate for good poll workers, but many communities do not have easy access to poll worker requirements or application forms. To ease the recruitment of diverse, bilingual, and technologically adept poll workers, Fair Elections Center and Development Seed has developed an online portal with a simple user interface: www.Workelections.comThis is a pilot project for 2018 that will focus on eight states: Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.  So check it out today and encourage members of your campus community to serve as poll workers.

Upcoming Grant Opportunities

The Millennial Voter Partnership is a collaboration between Democracy NC, Common Cause NC, Ignite NC, NC PIRG, and Southern Vision Alliance. Young people across NC with innovative projects can apply for funds up to $2000. Funding requests should fit into one of the three following categories:

  • Convenings: A gathering of youth from multiple interest or affinity groups for the purpose of collective education, impact, or collaborative strategy development.
  • Mobilizations: In support of preparing individuals to act for a specific cause. EX. March to the Polls, lobbying, rally or demonstration
  • Creative Media: The amplification of issues beyond traditional media source for the purpose of mass popular education.

The application can be found here. If you have any questions we can be contacted at [email protected].

#MilennialMon Twitter Chats

If you're interested, we have twitter chats planned through the SLSV coalition known as the 2018 #MillennialMon Twitter Chat to talk about important issues and get people ready to vote! Our #MillennialMon Twitter Chats are the following:

  • October 15th at 3-4pm ET- Make a Plan to Vote
  • November 5 at 3-4pm ET- Everything You Need to Know to Vote

Additional resource: