Strengthening American Democracy: A Guide For Developing an Action Plan to Increase Civic Learning, Political Engagement, and Voter Participation Among College Students by SLSV Member Organizations
This improved and expanded guide is designed to help faculty, staff, and students write strong campus action plans to increase nonpartisan civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation among college students. It provides a framework for developing and documenting institutional goals and strategies. It is not meant to be prescriptive and should be adapted to your institutional context.
The accompanying rubric is designed to help you self-assess your campus democratic engagement action plan so that you can identify potential areas for improvement and build on existing strengths. Access the rubric here.
Votes & Ballots! is a game of team-wide strategy that takes the guesswork out of on-campus democratic engagement. Players are tasked with creating a comprehensive action plan while keeping in mind their institution’s historical voting rates, their resources, and the unique challenges faced by student voters. Votes and Ballots! is a project of Democracy Works, makers of TurboVote and is available as a free download on their website.
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates and, for interested campuses, a closer examination of their campus climate for political learning and engagement and correlations between specific student learning experiences and voting. Participation is free, easy, and protective of student privacy.
Public Action Plans & NSLVE Reports
View the action plans and NSLVE reports of campuses that participate in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. You can also view the top 13 action plans from ALL IN's early 2020 action plan review process here.
Election Imperatives by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, an applied research center at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University
Election Imperatives is a collaborative, practitioner-focused document that grounds this important work in years of research. In this document, you'll find ten recommendations for what campuses can do to institutionalize student political learning on campus. Check out the most updated version: Election Imperatives 2020
Democracy’s Future: Proposals to Expand Access to Registration and Voting for a New Generation by Fair Elections Center and Campus Vote Project
This resource identifies key barriers to youth registration and voting and opportunities to expand access. It provides best practices, useful background information, and concrete solutions including model legislation and policies to expand access to this new generation of voters. Its components span the civic engagement spectrum from voter registration and voter education to the ability to cast a valid ballot. This resource identifies key barriers to youth registration and voting and opportunities to expand access. It provides best practices, useful background information, and concrete solutions including model legislation and policies to expand access to this new generation of voters. Its components span the civic engagement spectrum from voter registration and voter education to the ability to cast a valid ballot.
Aggregating data from 1,023 higher education institutions and 9,784,931 student records, the 2016 NSLVE report shows that students voted at a higher rate in 2016 than 2012 by about three percentage points, rising from 45.1% to 48.3%. This report includes turnout data by demographic criteria, field of study, class year, age group, and more. Click here to view the Democracy Counts 2018 report.
Graduating Students Into Voters by ideas42
ideas42's publication, Graduating Students into Voters, discuses eight psychological barriers faced by student voters and nine actionable design principles college leaders can use to overcome them.
Teaching Civic Engagement Across The Disciplines by The American Political Science Association
For a democracy to function effectively, its citizens must participate. Furthermore, these same citizens must deliberate effectively, engage with one another, and arrive at workable compromises. Although these skills are critical for a vibrant society, the means to learn and develop them is lacking in American education today. Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines evaluates the goals, challenges, and rewards of integrating civic education into the curriculum, highlighting best practices across disciplines and campuses.
"Civic learning needs to be an integral component of every level of education, from grade school through graduate school, across all fields of study.”
Spotlight on MSIs: Turning Student Activism into Votes by University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions
Examining key issues that affect student and racial and ethnic minority turnout across the nation, this report explores the impact of the distance from campuses to polling sites, the time it takes to get to those sites, and why these factors disproportionately affect students and minorities. It also studies various policies that perpetuate voter suppression and other challenges that fall outside of the general structure of voting, such as misinformation, miscommunication, and racism.
On Campus Early Voting in Florida in the 2018 General Election by The Andrew Goodman Foundation
In the 2018 Florida General Election, nearly 60,000 registered voters in nine Florida counties cast early in-person (EIP) ballots at 12 on-campus voting locations at universities and colleges. Young voters, people of color, and those who did not cast a ballot in 2016, disproportionately voted at these locations. This research indicates that turnout—especially among young registered voters—in the counties that introduced on-campus voting locations, was higher in 2018 compared to 2016. Turnout in Florida is bolstered by on-campus locations as it lowers the opportunity costs of voting for all registered voters, particularly for young registered voters.
Ask Every Student Toolkit
These resources have been developed using a human-centered design process in collaboration with the 31 Ask Every Student Codesigner Campuses. This toolkit is designed to support campus leaders in implementing full student voter registration programs on their campuses. These strategies are based on the Ask Every Student framework of integrating voter registration into existing processes on campus through individualized conversations between students and trained individuals.
The resources in the Toolkit include:
Virtual Democratic Engagement Toolkit by ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
These strategies and programs are intended to assist campus coalitions to address immediate needs for fall 2020 as well as further develop campus action plans to perpetually include both in-person and virtual democratic engagement.
Student Democracy Summit Guide by LeadMN, the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project, and Kassie Phebillo of the University of Texas at Austin
This guide supports the SLSV Coalition goals by supporting the state or regional democracy summits, leveraging the summits to support campuses executing the SLSV Coalition checklist, training campuses on how to use the Strengthening American Democracy guide (a guide for creating voter engagement action plans) and Votes & Ballots, and helping campuses share their democratic engagement action plans.
Vote Everywhere Ambassador Handbook by the Andrew Goodman Foundation
Vote Everywhere, The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s signature program, builds a national, nonpartisan, civic engagement movement of student leaders and university partners. Since its inception, Vote Everywhere has expanded to 21 states and engages over 100 student Ambassadors. The current network of 46 campuses encompasses a voting population of nearly a million students. This handbook lays out the roles & responsibilities, expectations, and best practices around the program, as well as training overviews on nonprofit nonpartisanship, building & leading teams, voter registration, strategic campus planning, media engagement, data & reporting, and development.
Institutionalizing Voter Engagement: A Guide to Developing and Adopting Handbook Language by Fair Elections Center's Campus Vote Project
Institutionalizing Voter Engagement was created to help campuses unpack what institutionalizing voter engagement means and further campuses’ ability to prepare students as active citizens. The guide provides a working definition for voter engagement, methods for building programs, and arguments to support engaging students as voters. The purpose of Institutionalizing Voter Engagement is to support administrators in developing and implementing handbook language that commits institutions to carrying out voter engagement.
Campus Canvass by Vote for Astra
This guidebook details Vote For Astra's Campus Canvass strategy. It describes the strategy’s genesis, the specific problems it’s designed to combat, and the ways it intends to solve those issues. In addition, the guidebook includes step-by-step instructions for implementing Campus Canvass. The instructions are designed to assist administrators and student organizers as they either add Campus Canvass to their existing toolkit, or use the strategy as the foundation of a new approach.
Digital Civic Engagement Toolkit by Student PIRGs
Colleges and universities have long played a key part in this engagement for students, but as we move virtual we know campuses are learning how to shift our usual practices, events, and more online. This toolkit is meant to be an updated guide on what we know are the best practices to keep students engaged and involved in voter registration and mobilization virtually.
All In To Vote by ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
A college student oriented voter education guide that helps students register to vote, make a voting plan, pledge to vote (and receive election reminders), and learn about important dates, early voting, and ID requirements in their state. Uses a digital pledge card that that asks users to name three friends in addition to pledging their own vote. Users will then receive reminders to reach out to those friends. Uses vote.org as the platform for registering students to vote and check their registration status.
Can I Vote? by National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS)
This resource links to the official state websites for checking your registration status, registering to vote, voting by mail, polling place lookup, valid forms of ID to vote, early voting info, poll worker sign up, and election official contact information. Official Secretary of States (SOS) websites are the most up to date and provide the most correct information. Get information straight from the source. But, not all SOS websites are user friendly and can be difficult to navigate for those unfamiliar with the voting process.
Election Protection by The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law
Access to the hotline number to ask questions. Consolidates the information provided in Can I Vote? by NASS (above) into one page with hyperlinks instead of direct links. The information all links directly to the SOS websites and consolidates all of the information into one comprehensive state page. Links to resources that increase voter access such as VoteRiders and the Election Protection hotline.
HowTo.Vote by Democracy Works
This voting guide clearly breaks down the steps needed to register to vote and to cast a ballot. Includes links to TurboVote for voter registration and absentee ballot requests. Includes contact information for election officials. This is a very user-friendly resource that provides step-by-step help for the voting process. It links to TurboVote as a tool for walking voters through the process of voter registration and step-by-step requests for voting by mail.
State Student Voter Guides by Fair Election Center's Campus Vote Project
Covers state specific FAQs regarding student voting concerns for 50 states and D.C. Lists registration deadlines, election dates, voter ID laws, official election websites, voting options, and common questions and concerns for student voters. This is one of the few resources that directly focuses on the voting rights and concerns of student voters. They function more as an FAQ than a process-oriented guide that breaks down how to vote. Not all states are currently updated for Fall 2020.