Spring 2022 Roundup: Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere’s Semester Highlights
In the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program, there is no such thing as an “off” year when it comes to student nonpartisan civic engagement, and the Spring 2022 was no exception. During the Spring 2022 semester, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors focused heavily on preparing for the upcoming Midterm Elections through various advocacy efforts. “Advocacy” in this case is defined as collaborating with campus and local institutional decision makers to enact long-term policy changes. This semester, many of our campuses were able to work with campus administrators, local municipalities, and student government to expand on-campus civic engagement access at unprecedented levels.
These advocacy wins are doubly important as we approach the upcoming Midterm Elections in November where young people have a high likelihood of playing a decisive role in Senate races in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, and Colorado; and in Gubernatorial races in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Kansas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Nevada, Maine, and Florida. With these advocacy wins secured, more students across the nation will have the opportunity to make their voices and votes heard during this important time for the youth vote in our democracy. The Spring 2022 semester has laid the foundation for students to engage at the ballot and beyond for years to come.
Over the course of the Spring 2022 semester Andrew Goodman Ambassadors:
- Hosted 151 total events, ranging from voter registration tables to candidate forums and more;
- Registred 1,119 individuals to vote, with 161 registrations coming from Elizabeth City State University’s Blackout the Disparities event on February 19, 2022;
- And engaged 3,296 students at various events hosted by Andrew Goodman Campuses, with 400 engagements from Bowling Green State University’s voter registration tabling event and 327 engagements from Kutztown University’s voter registration tabling event.
Check out some of the other highlights from this semester of the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program below!
Voter Registration & Institutionalization
- For a few semesters now, the SUNY Geneseo Andrew Goodman Campus Team has been working with residence halls and with their administration to get approval for secure voter registration drop boxes in every dorm on campus. This way resident advisors can hand out voter registration forms and instructions to every resident in their dorm and then have a secure place for residents to drop off their ballots, which Ambassadors would come pick up every week. This is a significant commitment because the drop boxes are large and require official installation — they would be in place for the long haul. This semester, the team finally achieved approval for almost every dorm! Soon, they will begin to purchase materials and to start the installation process with campus facilities staff shortly thereafter.
Civic and Voter Education
Every semester, the Alabama A&M University Campus Team hosts Civic Week as part of their culture of civic engagement and service on campus. Activities ranged from a lock-in, a kick ball game, a voting party on the quad, a campus walk echoing the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and lots more in between.
Get Out The Vote
- Clark Atlanta University Ambassadors hosted an event with the National Urban League called Reclaim Your Vote Rally, a kick-off event launching the nonpartisan campaign to increase Black civic participation and harness Black power for social change. Ambassador Christina Williams was a featured guest panelist who spoke to the importance of Black student voter participation alongside Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Congresswoman Nikema Williams. Over 200 students attended the event about the importance of getting out to vote.
Youth Voting Rights Advocacy
- University of Alabama Ambassador Sam Robson won a grant through the Blackburn Institute for a project to systematically assist Alabamians restoring their voting rights. They bought a subscription to the re-enfranchisement platform, Alacourt, and created a website where people with past convictions can find out about re-enfranchisement eligibility and process, and then sign up for a meeting with a trained student or community member who can go through the re-enfranchisement process with them for free. The Andrew Goodman Campus Team trained members of their campus community and the larger Tuscaloosa community on this process. They started with voting rights restoration drives, but created the website as a long-term continuation of the initial project.
- The Iowa State University Campus Team worked with the Student Government Association to pass joint resolutions to prohibit exams or assignments due on Election Day and to be flexible with attendance so that students could vote or be poll workers without fear of academic consequences.
The Spring 2022 semester proved to be an impactful one, laying the foundation for increased ballot and civic engagement access for more students across the nation. The Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program exists to ensure that civic engagement is a priority every year, not just in major election years, and the Spring 2022 semester was no exception. Andrew Goodman Ambassadors are leading the way through sustainable organizing tactics to ensure young voices and votes remain a powerful force in democracy.
About The Author
Wambui Gatheru is the Director of Programs at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In her role, she is proud to support the visions and power of young voices in our democracy.