Fall 2019 Roundup: Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere’s Semester Highlights in Four Promising Practices
Inspired to “Live the Legacy,” the theme and call to action of last summer’s National Civic Leadership Training Summit, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors hit the ground running at the outset of the Fall 2019 semester with one thing in mind: 2020 on the horizon. To support the Ambassadors in their goal of activating college students, Nicole Taylor joined The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) as a Program Manager for the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere (VE) program. Similarly, Erika Burnett and Christina Sanders signed on as our first Regional Program Managers, more proximate to Andrew Goodman Campuses in the South and well-positioned to assist their efforts.
Throughout the semester, Andrew Goodman Campus Teams demonstrated their leadership of youth civic and voter engagement. Our Cornell University Campus Team convened the first-ever Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Regional Coalition Summit in Upstate New York. Additionally, the Bowling Green State University Campus Team hosted Ohio Campus Compact’s Propel Ohio Collegiate Leadership Summit, where they presented with other Andrew Goodman Ohio Campus Teams. The Western Carolina University Campus Team followed suit, presenting at North Carolina Campus Compact’s College Voter Summit.
To top it all off, the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Network concluded the Fall 2019 semester having organized 492 activities aimed at increasing student access to and involvement in our political process. These peer-to-peer activities engaged 114,627 students, which represents about 10% of the combined student population across the VE Network. To see how our network organized and advocated for increased student voter engagement, take a look at this roundup of highlighted activities.
Youth Voting Advocacy
- To make student voting more accessible, several Andrew Goodman Campus Teams successfully advocated for voter-ID-compliant student IDs. Iowa State University Ambassadors achieved this feat, as did East Carolina University, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, and Western Carolina University, after nearly a year-long campaign with the North Carolina Board of Elections.
- Since advocating for and winning it, East Carolina University hosted its first centrally located on-campus one-stop voting site for Greenville’s municipal elections.
- In a similar vein, our Campus Teams at the University of Central Arkansas, University of La Verne, and University of San Francisco all secured on-campus polling places for early or Election Day voting in 2020.
- At Georgia State University – Atlanta, our Campus Team sought to staff their on-campus early voting site 100% with student poll workers for the first time in university, county, and state history. It was approved by the Fulton County Election Commission, and our Andrew Goodman Ambassadors will serve at the poll for the presidential primary in March 2020.
Voter Registration & Institutionalization
- Our Campus Teams registered 11,779 voters during the Fall 2019 semester.
- On National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), 49 of our Andrew Goodman Campus Teams held events to celebrate democracy and register voters. Combined, Ambassadors conducted 3,928 voter registrations!
- Leading the way on NVRD, the University of Chicago Campus Team gained an astounding 1,800 sign-ups via TurboVote.
- Georgetown University set a precedent in the Network by being the first Campus Team to institutionalize voter registration with my.VoteEverywhere, our student voter information portal. The University of Utah Campus Team likewise institutionalized voter registration via their student message center and portal.
Civic & Voter Education
- Reaching nearly or 100% of first-year students, the Campus Teams at Simpson College and St. Lawrence University visited classrooms to promote civic and voter engagement.
- In preparation for February’s Iowa Caucuses, the Iowa State University Campus Team offered several mock caucuses, where students could practice the process.
- Both Miami University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison honored civil rights history and the legacy of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. At Miami, our Campus Team supported the renaming of residence halls’ lounges to Andrew Goodman Lobby, James Chaney Lobby, and Michael Schwerner Lobby. In Madison, a monument to honor Andy, once a student there, was erected at the campus’ entrance.
In collaboration with Flytedesk, AGF piloted an advertising campaign at Midway University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Xavier University of Louisiana to get out the vote for statewide elections. Due to the campaign’s success, we’re continuing it in key states in 2020!
- On the ground, Dillard University, Louisiana State University, and Xavier University of Louisiana Ambassadors got out the vote for Louisiana’s Gubernatorial Election.
- For their municipal elections, the University of North Carolina – Charlotte Campus Team provided shuttles to their early voting location.
- During their municipal elections, the University of Utah boasted an on-campus polling place with a turnout rate of 23%, the third-highest of any polling place in the county.
For these efforts and more, Andrew Goodman Campuses were recognized with state and national awards. Montclair State University won the second annual Ballot Bowl, a competition sponsored by the New Jersey Secretary of State’s Office, while University of Baltimore (Highest Student Voting Rate for a Medium, Public, 4-year Institution), Rutgers University (Most Improved Voting Rate in the Big 10 Voting Challenge), and Matthew Tolbert (Student Honor Roll) won ALL IN Awards. Additionally, our Network received 1 Bronze Seal, 16 Silver Seals, 18 Gold Seals, and 4 Platinum Seals from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge in honor of their institutions’ overall student voting rates.
In Fall 2019, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors laid a strong foundation for 2020. Now here, they’re undertaking a range of advocacy campaigns that will make student voting more accessible come November, such as securing on-campus polling sites, institutionalizing voter registration, and creating Election Day as a campus holiday. As always, our Ambassadors are on the ground registering voters, getting out the vote for this spring’s caucuses and primaries, and educating their peers, with a particular focus on the 2020 Census this Spring.
About The Author
Margaret Sasser is AGF’s Senior Communications Manager. Margaret is passionate about civil rights issues, storytelling, and helping students to become active members of their communities.