Student voters are the ultimate voices of change and progress. Here are the top ways you can make an immediate impact.
Updated June 14th, 2020 by Jeffrey Lee, Principal Editor
1. Join the ‘Campus Vote’ project
Become a force for change at your school! The Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. Their goal is to help campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote. You are a vital proponent of change, but it requires effort and persistence to make a difference. What is important to note is that you can organize others with your energy and passion:
- Talk to your friends about issues they care about.
- Encourage your friends to vote by walking them through the process and making them feel good.
- Hold a voting registration drive at your school. You can set-up a laptop or two and have students check their registration status and register to vote instantly.
2. Inspire your friends to vote from home
Amplify your voice by inspiring your fellow students, friends, and family to fight for what they believe in. Voting at home empowers voters and ensures that they can exercise their civic duty safely and responsibly. Making voting secure and accessible at home ensures that everyone can stay safe, secure, and have equal access to voting. Check out the Unite America guide to voting from home and inspiring others.
One of the major contributors to voter churn (e.g not voting) is balancing voting with life and work priorities. You can teach and encourage others to vote by mail or receive an absentee ballot to vote from the convenience of a home – as opposed to waiting in line.
This can help increase voter turnout by removing the friction to vote. We recommend studying the remote voting laws in your state to ensure that you can answer any questions that remote voters may have.
3. Volunteer to get out the vote on campus
Join in and amplify your campus impact! Whether you can volunteer once a day, once a week, or once a semester, Student PIRGs organizers and student leaders provide the training and skills you need to effectively fight climate change, alleviate poverty, strengthen democracy, and make college more affordable.
You can also volunteer at StudentVote.org to directly participate in campus representation at the polls. This is an awesome way to feel like you’re making a difference and to inspire the next generation of voters.
4. Campaign and advocate on social media
Looking to campaign on your own time? You can do that — via social media! You can support political campaigns and politicians online by tweeting, liking, and sharing your support with others.
- Understand your target audience – Understand that your fellow students want to feel empowered, but often lack the motivation to really make their voice heard. Or, they are just burnt out from politics. Try to think of inspiration messaging and how you can make voting and political participation a rewarding experience.
- Build an base on a social media platform– Build a supportive base who can amplify your voice, primary on a platform where people are already on. Are you aligned with what your supporters love? Do you have a team that thinks digitally? Can you develop a plan for errors? Do you have a group for supporters, e.g,. a Facebook group?
- Share things that matter – Whether you’re on Instagram or TikTok, try to share things that matter to your audience. What issues do they care about the most? What can they look at and understand in just a few minutes?
- Share graphics or videos from factual and influential sources – Understand who your target audience looks up to and try to find material that inspires action, especially from sources your audience trusts.
You can even create local Facebook groups with your friends and family to show support for a candidate. Or join an online group for a campaign and make your voice heard there. You can also donate money to campaigns and try to get others to do so as well. It may sound simple, but you may help motivate someone else to get involved in the political process.
However, make sure to vote when the time comes. All that promoting on social media means little if you don’t vote in the end.
5. Hold your friends accountable
Hold your friends accountable to register and vote. Help them understand what’s important, the deadlines, and the issues. Make sure you also celebrate when they do reach milestones, like registering to vote and actually voting. If they have trouble with voting, make sure they know to call you and ask for help. You can point them in the right direction or can answer their questions immediately.
Voting, campaigning, and volunteering should be rewarding experiences. You’re the hero who will make it so!