Founding Fifteen Campus Connections: Arizona State University


This year, AGF is celebrating ten years of impact with the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Program. One of “Founding Fifteen” campuses, the Campus Team at Arizona State University reflected on the past ten years and their hopes for the future of civic engagement on the campus in Tempe, Arizona.

Arizona State University has been an Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere campus since the program began back in 2014! What barriers to voting existed on campus prior to 2014?
  • Registration Address: From what I remember, students living in dorms often could not use their dorm mailing addresses to register to vote, since they were incompatible with postal service addresses. I’m actually not sure if that’s been resolved or not.
  • Voter ID: Students that lived at home (with parents), in dorms, or shared housing with roommates often didn’t have utility bills in their name, or government id’s that matched their voter registration address, etc., so they often didn’t have sufficient ID to be able to vote in person on election day. ASU student ID’s didn’t, and still do not count as eligible proof of ID for voting purposes.
  • Proof of Citizenship: Many students, especially out-of-state students, that do not have an Arizona driver license didn’t have any of the alternate documents required by AZ law to prove citizenship for voter registration. Primarily, these include birth certificates (which parents often keep) or passports, which most students do not have. This is still an ongoing issue for students.
  • Out-of-State Students: These students have to right to vote in AZ or in their home state, but while many would prefer to vote where they go to school, there was, and is, a lot of misinformation and false info out there telling them they can’t or shouldn’t vote in Arizona.
  • Polling Place Locations: This was before voting centers were established to replace voting precinct-based polling locations (voters can vote at any convenient voting center within their county of residence). So prior to that change, students had to figure out what specific polling place they were assigned to and how to get there. There were no polling places on campus, so students without transportation faced the challenge of figuring out where their assigned polling location was and how to get there and back. Since elections are always on Tuesdays, when many students have heavy class schedules, this was a major barrier in terms of potentially having to miss one or more classes in order to vote. If students went to the wrong polling place by accident, they would not be able to vote there, and if they had waited in line a long time just to be told to go to another polling location, many of them wouldn’t have had time to do so. Once voting centers replaced polling places, students could vote at any location, but these weren’t available on campus until just a few years ago.
From what you know of how things were in 2014, when it comes to voting and civic engagement on campus, what are some of the most noticeable changes?
  • AGF students working with the Civic Engagement Coalition were incredibly successful in advocating to the county elections department for voting centers to be established on all ASU campuses. This is a huge win for students, and resulted in significant turnout among students.
  • The ASU Ed Pastor Center’s sponsorship of the TurboVote platform subscription has made this free, online voter registration and information tool available to all units across the university, including campus housing, student government, student clubs and organizations, and our athletics programs. This has helped AGF and other student programs transition from storing, deploying, and turning in paper voter registration forms to using the instant, online voter registration platform, which is able to accommodate in-state and out-of-state students, and integrates with all 50 states’ voter registration systems.
  • The recent inclusion of the TurboVote link and voter info on the myASU page (student registration and enrollment) for students is a great accomplishment, and led to huge numbers of student voter registrations in the 2022 election.
  • After the 2020 election, AGF worked to create the Civic Engagement Coalition to help avoid a lot of duplication of effort and competition with USG and student clubs and organizations all having similar voter registration drives, debate watch parties, candidate forums, etc. There was a great increase in collaboration and partnership between these organizations following the creation of the Coalition.
How has the general campus’ perception of voting and civic engagement evolved since 2014?

There has been a steady increase in excitement and support for these efforts across the university, especially in light of NSLVE reports indicating an increase in student voter registration and turnout rates from 2016 to present. Additionally, ASU participates in the All-in Campus Challenge and has engaged AGF, student government, and the Civic Engagement Coalition in developing strategic campus voter engagement plans every election year since 2020.

How has your Campus Team reflected on the legacy of Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Freedom Summer 1964 over these ten years?

It’s standard practice for our students and/or staff to tell the story and context of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner when kicking off public events and activities. This provides context for the Chapter and its overall goals and objectives, and typically elicits great interest and support from audiences and students. ASU Ambassadors have created promotional materials with images and statements made by Andrew Goodman to include t-shirts, tote bags, water bottles, coffee mugs and journal notebooks. These materials are widely distributed at events hosted by and sponsored by Vote Everywhere at Arizona State University. The most frequently used image is the 1964 Freedom Summer Missing Poster.

What are some ways that the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program has supported your efforts on campus to increase voter and civic engagement?
  • Affiliation: Having affiliation with a national program, especially one with the reputation of the Andrew Goodman Foundation and its cultural and historic context, has helped establish our chapter’s credibility and relevance for our internal stakeholders, and helped to garner support at all levels.
  • Incentives: The availability of student stipends funds and the title of “AGF Ambassador” have been significant incentives to boost recruitment and engagement for students seeking involvement with our chapter. The programmatic support funds also show external buy-in and validation for our project and help ensure its long-term support and institutionalization at ASU.
  • Orientation: Prior to the COVID pandemic, the annual summer retreats were critical opportunities to orient and inspire our students to set their sights high with regard to planning and goal-setting for each coming academic year.
What are your hopes and dreams for what civic engagement will look like on campus ten years from now?

By 2034, ASU will be regarded as a critical site and constituency for political candidates, legislators, and thought leaders to engage with students in discussion about important social and political topics on an ongoing basis (beyond just voting in election years). Student-led civic engagement programs and activities will proliferate across all disciplines through curricular infusion, student clubs and organizations, and through faculty and staff professional development offerings and expectations.

What are the team’s main goals to increase and support voter engagement and turnout in 2024?
  • Conduct activities and workshops to educate students and community members about voting processes, deadlines, requirements, etc.; and inform them about ballot content. This will include workshops on federal and state races, ballot questions, and co-hosting candidate forums and debate watch parties, ballot marking parties, and get-out-the-vote messaging campaigns.
  • Nurture the team’s relationship with the Civic Engagement Coalition to increase organizational visibility and curate various events and voter engagement experiences around all four of ASU’s campuses.
  • The team is developing plans to increase its digital footprint the internet and social media. These plans include content for social advocacy campaigns, information about ballot measures and initiatives, event promotion, and sharing of the TurboVote electronic voter registration link.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Below is an event photo from an event the Ambassadors curated on Earth Day 2023. During the off-election season of 2023, the Vote Everywhere Ambassadors at ASU assisted a school with planting a community garden for the students and their families. The school is in a neighborhood considered a food desert and included education about growing your own food, medicinal benefits of plants, and ways to care for the planet. There was also a moment for food and fun as a local radio station came out and played some music after the planting and education portion concluded.

Stay tuned as we continue our Campus Connections series, featuring each of our Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Campus Teams, the impact made on campus, and how they are living the legacy during this pivotal point in our nation’s history.