Encouraging college students to vote is hard in the best of times. It's even harder during a pandemic with many college campuses closed.
Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) has worked with over 400 partner campuses since 2008 to engage students in democracy. The non-profit, non-partisan group provides personalized coaching, guides schools on how to help their students to register, volunteer in campaigns, educate themselves on candidates and issues, navigate voting laws, and turn out at the polls. CEEP views voting as a means to promote a more equitable and inclusive democracy and to address past and present disenfranchisement.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.
The League of Women Voters is a citizens’ organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all citizens in the decisions that impact their lives. They have over 800 state and local Leagues.
Election Protection is a national, non-partisan coalition that works to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count.
This map shows the college campuses where CEEP works is currently active.
Interested in promoting democracy? There's an app for that.
CEEP and DemLabs are piloting a new approach to increase voter turnout with Vote Force. The app lets college personnel and students share messages provided by CEEP with their others about how to get involved in the election process. The app is available for free from the Apple AppStore and Google Play.
Leveraging personal relationships to inspire friends to do something
Personal relationships get friends to do something. That's especially true amongst close knit groups. But people are rightfully possessive about their own privacy and their friends' information. How can student's share suggestions with their friends easily and privately? How can a group like CEEP share new messages with college personnel and student ambassadors for them to share with their contacts? How can this be done quickly with affordably?
Have supporters encourage their friends to register to vote in seconds
Installing Vote Force and choose your campaign
- Get the free VoteForce app from the Apple iStore or Google Play.
- Approve getting alerts. This allows the organizer to notify you when there is a new message to share.
- Enter your contact information which is saved for the campaign organizer.-
- Pick the group that you are affiliated with such as the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP).
Pick the message. Choose your friends you want to send it to. Press Send. That's it!
- Specify the Group (such as CEEP).
- Campaign organizers can pick the Sub-Groups that users can choose from. This let's them micro-target their messages.
- Subgroups could be college campuses, states, occupations...
- Pick the issues that you are most passionate about.
- Choose from the messages that the campaign would like to share.
- Pick your friends from your address book on your phone and press SEND.
- The message is sent immediately as a personal text from one friend to another - making it more likely to be opened.
Takeaway: Use relationships to increase voter participation.
CEEP exemplifies the power of relationships. It is nonpartisan and works nationwide to help administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders at America’s colleges and universities engage students in federal, state, and local elections.
Technology allows groups to leverage their supporters' networks to reach more people. Faster and for less money. DemLabs is currently offering VoteForce free of charge to non-profit groups working on voting rights and social justice issues. Apply for your free account here.
Image credit: Pxher