by Nicole Taylor, CVP Intern from Hamilton College
National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), started in 2012, is a coordinated, nationwide effort to raise awareness and provide voter registration opportunities to tens of thousands of people with the help over almost 3,000 partners. As a premier partner, Campus Vote Project (CVP) afforded me the opportunity to be on the front lines.
Tuesday, September 26, was my first time participating in NVRD and it was exciting to be part of a nationwide movement like this. CVP, Civic Nation, Alliance for Youth Action and Young Invincibles partnered with eight D.C. colleges and universities to organize voter registration drives at each institution. We were proud to partner with George Washington University, Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, University of the District of Columbia (the community college and Van Ness campuses), American University, Gallaudet University, Howard University, and Trinity Washington University to register students in D.C. or their home states.
This NVRD, we met with officials at the D.C. Board of Elections to learn about registering students in the district and to pick up registration forms. With the help of our partners, we distributed boxes with supplies such as registration forms, chalk, stickers, and candy to boost registration and excitement on campus.
I spent NVRD with wonderful volunteers at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Dr. Shiela Martin, Doni Russell, the Student Ambassadors, and the Political Science Society were part of UDC’s campus-wide effort and enthusiastic, engaged, and passionate about registering students to vote. Professor Paul Tennassee brought his political science class to our table in the student center to discuss the importance of registering to vote, voting, and ensuring youth voices are heard in government. Joanna Woodson, from the All In Challenge, and I were able to discuss with students the importance and role of government in their everyday lives. Policy including healthcare, education, tuition costs, and even the heights of street curbs are affected by whom we vote to take local office. Spending the day at UDC and meeting students as they registered to vote taught me how engaging partners across a campus can create a sense of community and engagement.
While my focus was in D.C., CVP engaged a broad audience of campuses in NVRD across the country! CVP invests not only in the campuses we work on but also the communities and states where they are located. From southern California to Maryland, CVP worked with campuses to provide resources to plan their events, and encouraged them to join the national conversation. Student Advisory Board members, campus partners, Voter Friendly Campuses, and new partners were out in droves promoting NVRD and democracy on their campuses. While we’re still waiting on final numbers, but we are confident we made an impact.
My first National Voter Registration Day was a huge success, and I look forward to bringing what I learned back to my fellow students at Hamilton College in September 2018.