Vote Everywhere Campuses Register Thousands During 2017 National Voter Registration Day

Every year, millions of Americans are turned away from the polls because they fail to properly register to vote. Many citizens also don’t realize that a change in address, name, party affiliation, and several other factors including errors on the local, state, and federal levels all warrant the necessity to update our voter registrations regularly. Knowing your registration status is crucial to being able to participate in all primary, general, and special elections. Luckily, to ensure our right to vote is met, there is a day that serves as a reminder for citizens to do just that.

Montclair State University Vote Everywhere Ambassador Amir Botros helped students navigate a sample voting booth on National Voter Registration Day.

National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a nationally-recognized holiday that celebrates democracy by spreading broad awareness of voting opportunities. Held annually on the fourth Tuesday of September, it brings together thousands of organizations and volunteers who use field, technology, and media efforts to encourage participation and help avoid surprises on Election Day. Since its inception in 2012, the holiday has helped 1.6 million Americans register to vote.

The Andrew Goodman Foundation sees voting as a gateway to civic engagement. That’s why the Foundation has been a supporter of National Voter Registration Day since the very beginning. “Election Day serves as an annual reminder of our civic duty but we cannot carry out that duty without being properly registered to vote. That’s why National Voter Registration Day is so important,” says Sylvia Golbin Goodman, Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation.

With an abundance of support, 27 Vote Everywhere (VE) Campus Teams participated in NVRD in 2017, including Arizona State University, CUNY Queens College, Montclair State University, and Towson University. The teams vigorously planned and executed voter registration drives, educational events, open forums, and hosted additional entertainment to increase campus participation. Together, the teams assisted 2,275 citizens with registering to vote or updating their registrations.  

The Tufts University Vote Everywhere team brought Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to their National Voter Registration Day celebration.

One of the many challenges in promoting voting efforts is demonstrating the importance of participating in democracy by overcoming the notions that voting doesn’t matter or have any tangible effects on the voter. Margaret Sasser, the Vote Everywhere Program Development and Evaluation Manager at The Andrew Goodman Foundation says that VE Ambassadors showed a lot of ingenuity in planning for this year’s NVRD, hoping to chip away at voter apathy commonly found on college campuses. “In addition to voter registration activities, our students tapped all of their available resources to showcase the importance of civic engagement, and to make it fun. They provided incentives and educational resources, created spaces for important discussions about topics that interest young voters like race and fake news, and held demonstrations on how to properly use a voting booth. Overall, they did a fantastic job thinking outside the box to engage their peers.”

College students have an especially hard time voting. They are a transient community, underrepresented at the polls, and often targeted by voter suppression legislation. With attention shifting to the Spring semester, many of them will forget to register for the upcoming midterm elections. That’s why campaigns like National Voter Registration Day remain a critical part of stimulating turnout on Election Day.

 About the Author

Justyna Krygowska is the Communications Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In her role, she manages a variety of projects to ensure the foundation’s brand and programs are reinforced with quality communications. Justyna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Design with a concentration in Communication Design and Design & Management from Parsons the New School for Design.