First you registered – Now what?

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By Kate Chance

As the midterm election draws closer, you’re likely winding down your voter registration efforts.  While taking down the posters and sending off your completed voter registration forms you’re likely thinking—what now? What else can I do to foster civic engagement on my campus? How can I work to encourage students to get out and vote on Election Day?

Your efforts don’t need to conclude with your state’s voter registration deadline. There’s still work to be done to bring students to the ballot on Election Day. We’re here to help you do just that.

Remind students on your campus to get out and vote! 

Encouraging students to get out and vote begins with reminding them to show up. You can do this by:

  • Placing posters around campus about the election, and including the address of the closest polling place

  • Asking administrators to send out emails and post reminders on social media

  • Asking clubs and student leaders to encourage voter turnout through their social media platforms

  • Asking teachers to remind their students to vote, or offer students extra credit for coming to class with an “I Voted” sticker

Be sure to mail in your voter registration cards so we can send out text reminders to vote on Election Day!

Make sure students are able to get to the polling station

Unfortunately, some students may have a hard time casting their ballot on Election Day, as many college campuses do not have polling stations within walking distance. You can help students overcome this obstacle through a few methods:

  • Ask your college to offer shuttles to and from polling stations

  • Encourage students to use Uber and Lyft codes for free or discounted rides

  • Inform students that they can request an absentee ballot from their home state

  • Organize a march on campus to the polling station, like these students at Bethune-Cookman University

Breaking myths and misconceptions about voting

Often times, students will admit to not voting in elections and will give reasons such as “my vote doesn’t count,” or “midterm elections don’t matter.”

In our last blog we talked about the truth behind many of these myths, which you can view here.

You can combat these myths by sharing them with others, both through conversation and on social media. Use our graphics on social media to combat these misconceptions with your followers!

Hosting events leading up to the election

One way you can emphasize the significance of the midterm election is through hosting events on and off campus. Debates on campus about issues on the ballot

  • Trivia night focusing on the midterm elections

  • Movie night featuring films highlighting civic engagement

  • Guest speakers, elected officials and community leaders to discuss issues that are important to students

  • Encourage attendance at candidate forums off campus

  • Host a lunchtime event and have students take pictures with ‘Why I Vote’ Signs

  • Help students make a voting plan and encourage them to share it on social media

Incentivize voting

  • Ask teachers to give extra credit or allow missed class for those bringing in “I Voted” stickers

  • Look for discounts and free items for those wearing “I Voted” stickers, and bring awareness

Hosting events on election day

Students are far more likely to get out and vote if their friends and peers are, too!

  • Host a voting party, inviting your friends or clubs to vote in groups

  • Host an election watch party, from on campus or one of the many places offering discounts on Election Day to those wearing “I Voted” stickers

We hope that you’ll continue to encourage voter turnout on your campus. Every vote is significant, and being able to encourage even one person to vote can create a rippling effect which can transform our nation.

First you registered, now get out there and vote!