In 2012, the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) launched Campus Vote Project (CVP) to focus and expand its work around student voting issues. CVP works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. Our goal is to help campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.
College students face special challenges when attempting to register and vote in their college communities. They lack information about voter registration rules and deadlines, do not have acceptable id for voter registration or voting purposes, are confused about where to vote, may not have transportation to the polls, and occasionally are confronted by unfriendly or unsympathetic elections officials or poll workers. In 2011 the situation got worse when state legislatures around the country pursued new laws that sought to limit access to the polls, with particularly damaging effects for student voters. Campus Vote Project seeks to address these challenges well in advance of Election Day to pave the way for successful student voter turnout in 2015 and 2016.
New Barriers to Student Voting
In the lead-up to the 2012 election, many state legislatures have enacted or are considering reforms that will affect the ability of students to register and vote. Some efforts target student voters directly, but most make broader changes that could nonetheless fall hard on student voters. Campus administrators and student leaders should contact local elections officials to check for updates to rules and policies in the following areas.