Note: This page is geared toward CFI On Campus affiliates in the United States.
Voting in elections is an important way to make an impact on the local, state, and federal level, especially if we want our views as humanists, skeptics, and secularists to be heard. Unfortunately, many citizens are not registered to vote, let alone cast a ballot on election day. While this overall phenomenon affects many demographics and occurs for a variety of reasons, one thing is clear: students have low voter participation.
Why should students care? Because student interests are currently ignored in large part due to low voter turnout. Historically, students have had to fight for the right to cast their vote in the town or city where they go to school. Although they are legally guaranteed this right, many students still face obstacles to registering to vote and getting out to the polls on election day.
Because we at CFI On Campus believe the interests of both secularists and of students should be represented in government, we encourage our affiliate groups to engage in Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts on their campuses.
Want to get involved? Here are some things your group can do:
- Host or cosponsor a voter registration drive on your campus. Not only is this a great way to show your humanist values, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other groups on your campus, such as the student government association or political groups like the College Democrats, College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, and others. If you do choose to work with political organizations, just make sure that your voter registration drive is nonpartisan, meaning that you will register anyone regardless of their political views. See the resource section below for materials explaining how to put together a voter registration drive.
- Lobby your college for more accessible voter registration and student-friendly polling locations. The Campus Vote Project has a best practice guide as well as a list of sample best practices to improve student voter registration rates and voter turnout. If your college doesn’t already have these programs, schedule a meeting with school administrators to see if some of these initiatives are possible, and organize students around making student voter registration and voting accessibility a priority.
- Inform your campus about voter registration, polling locations, and the importance of student voting. If you can’t commit to a larger project, this is a great way to still do your part! Post information on your organization’s Facebook page, blog, Twitter account, etc. about how to register in your state, how to find polling locations, and why you think students should take part in the democratic process.
Is your group planning to get involved in GOTV efforts? We want to hear about it! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nonpartisan GOTV Resources: