Campus Vote Project Blog

The CVP Blog keeps you up-to-date on the latest election-related information and provides insight on how to best engage with students, campus administrators and election officials.

My Internship at the Fair Elections Legal Network and Campus Vote Project

by Shelby Kestler, Intern When it came to applying for internships this summer I knew I wanted something different than the typical Capitol Hill or PAC internships often found in Washington, DC.  As a rising senior at the Catholic University of America and a three-year resident of the District, I have experienced the rush of summer interns from across the country filling the metro on the way to the Hill, sporting their ID badges. This summer, I was looking for something different. I have considered attending law school and am passionate about people’s right to vote so the position at the Fair Elections Legal Network’s Campus Vote Project immediately intrigued me.  FELN’s staff includes a team of lawyers working to fight restrictions that make it harder for people to register and cast a ballot. The small collaborative staff offered me the opportunity to work closely with my supervisors and take on more responsibility than your typical summer intern. Throughout my internship I worked closely with Mike Burns the Director for Campus Vote Project. One of the major projects I was assigned early on in my internship was to find out which colleges in Indiana, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire distribute student IDs that are compliant with the respective state’s voter ID laws.  It was a time consuming project that required me to reach out to a large number of campuses.  Once I had determined which universities did not distribute voter ID compliant student IDs, I helped draft a letter that was sent to these universities urging them to change their student IDs so their students could use them as voter...

Campus Vote Project and the 2014 Midterms

The polls have closed, the ballots have been cast, and the winners have been announced (for the most part). As the dust settles on another Election Day, Campus Vote Project is reflecting on the early student turnout estimates and our work across the country leading up to November 4, 2014. With the help of campus partners and organizational allies we were able to connect with students from across the country and help get them the information they needed to vote. But as the turnout numbers show, there is still work to do. Low Turnout But Young Voters Improve… Slightly Turnout for midterm elections is traditionally low and 2014 was no exception. Nationally, the estimated turnout rate was 36.6%, the lowest since 1942. Only 10 states had an increase in turnout compared to 2010. The rest experienced a decrease; seven states, even some with competitive races, had over a 9% drop. Young voters, defined as ages 18-29, also had low turnout with an estimated 21.5% voting this year (about 9.9 million voters). This estimate is lower than turnout for the overall population, but a slight increase from 2010. Turnout for 18-29-year-olds in the last midterm election was 20.9%. There was also a slight increase in young voters’ share of the electorate compared to 2010. This year, young people made up 13% of the electorate compared to 11% in 2010.  This number has varied between 11% and 13% since 1994. These estimates don’t include provisional ballots or outstanding early and Election Day ballots. Once states certify results revised numbers will be available. Midterm Elections Impact Midterm elections’ historically low youth turnout...

NVRD: A Day of Action Especially on College Campuses

Tomorrow campuses from across the country will be participating in a day of action to register voters. Held this year on September 23rd, National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a one day blitz with events that will raise awareness of the need to register and update voter registration, and encourage all eligible voters to participate in this year’s midterm elections. Events like those celebrating NVRD tomorrow are particularly important to raise awareness in students. Unlike in presidential elections, college campuses are a low priority for midterm candidates’ registration and Get Out The Vote efforts. This doesn’t mean November’s election is any less important for college students. Voters will elect officials who will make decisions on issues like student loans and debt, college affordability, job creation, and environmental issues. These are issues that directly impact students. It’s critical students make sure their voices are heard. Here are some simple things you can do to be a part of NVRD tomorrow: Register to vote or update your voter registration information. For information on how to do that visit CVP’s website or the NVRD website. Participate on an NVRD event on your campus. Use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to remind students about NVRD using #CelebrateNVRD or mentioning @CelebrateNVRD. Encourage your friends to register to vote. Participate in #votepledge2014. NVRD is a great opportunity for campuses to begin focusing attention on Election Day and the importance of voting. Registration deadlines are sometimes as far out as 30 days before Election Day, which is often well before most students are paying attention to elections. The time to inform and empower students is now. Students often lack basic information about registering and voting, which is a major barrier to participation....

NH Judge Rules Against Voter Intimidation on State Voter Registration Form

This week, in a victory for voting rights, Strafford County Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker struck down a 2012 New Hampshire law that added unnecessarily confusing language to the state’s voter registration form, requiring people to declare legal residence in order to register. The form read, “In declaring New Hampshire as my domicile, I am subject to the laws of the state of New Hampshire which apply to all residents, including laws requiring a driver to register a motor vehicle and apply for a New Hampshire’s driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident.” This language failed to distinguish properly between domicile and residence, intimidating possible New Hampshire voters, especially college students, thereby preventing them from registering in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union filed a petition on behalf of four out-of-state college students and the New Hampshire League of Women Voters against New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner in 2012, arguing that this language violated both the state and federal constitutions. Applying a strict scrutiny analysis, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the language was “a confusing and unreasonable description of the law,” and “unduly restrictive,” to voters in New Hampshire. The language on the registration form incorrectly implied that residency and domicile are the same, and Judge Tucker in his order explained that a reasonable person would imply from the language that in registering to vote in New Hampshire she would also have to change her car registration or obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license. The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) has been combatting this prohibitive voter registration language since it was introduced in legislation in 2012,...

Announcing Vote Pledge 2014!

You may have noticed we’ve been using #votepledge2014 a lot on Twitter lately. Here’s the story: We’re gearing up for the midterm elections here at Campus Vote Project, and started an action to get students excited and motivated to vote in the midterm elections. It’s calledVoter Pledge 2014 and we need you to get involved! We’re asking student voters and advocates to make a pledge to participate in the midterm elections, and share their pledges with us! We’re collecting these pledges and photos and creating a mural of the promises our supporters make. Your pledge can be anything, here are just some examples: •Pledging to register to vote •Pledging to hold a registration drive on campus •Pledging to vote for a particular issue, or; •Pledging to help educate other students about their voting rights. Remember, this pledge doesn’t have to be limited to you as an individual, you – start a GOTV event on campus and collect students’ pledges, or use this  action to start a discussion among friends or colleagues about why you are voting in the 2014 election. You can see pledges that have already been made via #votepledge2014 on Twitter.  Drop-off rates are particularly pronounced among young voters. Off-year elections are critical, and the representatives elected in November will be working on issues such as student loan debt and immigration, which have considerable impact on Millenials. It’s essential to get out and vote, and to show your representatives what issues you care about. To participate in our pledge campaign, download the pledge sheet and tweet a picture of your pledge to @campusvoteusing #votepledge2014. You can also tweet us your pledge and we’ll write it down on a pledge card for...