-For Immediate Release-
Nationwide – Although COVID-19 has reshaped the election landscape in 2020, as in the past, motivated young Americans are leading the efforts to mobilize their communities this fall, even with minimal face-to-face interaction on campus. On National Voter Registration Day (Tuesday, Sept. 22), college student leaders with the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project will raise their peers’ awareness over social media, organize diverse coalitions of student groups and hold virtual events in an online effort to register thousands of students to vote.
While traditional on-campus outreach has halted across most of the country, students are still focused on using personalized tactics to mobilize young people — the largest potential voting bloc in the United States. The New Voters Project will work with nearly 1,300 student interns on more than 100 college campuses on National Voter Registration Day.
“Right now, young people are fired up — going to protests and signing petitions. We need to make sure we make our voices heard on Election Day as well,” said Manny Rin, director of Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project. “In an online world, young people are uniquely set up to organize others. It’s time we show the country that America’s largest generation votes!”
When it comes to running an election registration and mobilization effort, young people are at the forefront. Here are some of the top students leading the way:
Johanna Hussain, WISPIRG Students, University of Wisconsin – Madison
With a spike in COVID-19 cases causing uncertainty in the first weeks of the school year, Johanna has been leading the effort to register and educate as many students as possible . WISPIRG students created a Student Basic Needs Guide that connects students to local resources to help them navigate food insecurity, housing challenges, and casting their ballot safely this election.
Connect with Johanna for perspective on ways students are educating their peers about COVID-19 response resources for students.
Marissa Pletcher, PIRGIM Students, Michigan State University
Marissa and PIRGIM Student interns have been working with the Michigan secretary of state’s office to educate thousands of students how to safely cast a ballot by mail. Since July, she helped collect pledges to vote safely from more than 500 students around Michigan. They are also working with local NAACP Youth & College chapters to run a series of educational events on National Voter Registration Day.
Connect with Marissa for perspective on how students are educating their peers about safe voting practices, including vote by mail.
Chase Barnhill, NCPIRG Students, North Carolina State University
In response to COVID-19, so North Carolinians can register to vote safely, the state established online voter registration earlier this year. Since then, Chase has helped NCPIRG register hundreds of students in North Carolina by promoting NCStudentVote.org, a one-stop resource for students to register to vote and get information about voting. On National Voter Registration Day, Chase will be working with coalition groups on campus to organize fun virtual events to help students to register, including an “Exercise your Right to Vote” event to help students stay physically active and register to vote at the same time.
Connect with Chase for perspective on registering students online and using online tools such as StudentVote.org.
Nic Riani, CALPIRG Students, University of California – Los Angeles
Nic has helped make the UCLA CALPIRG chapter a statewide leader in voter registration and voter turnout. By building a large and diverse coalition of student groups, college athletes, faculty, and administrators at UCLA, the student voter turnout rate more than tripled from 14 percent in the 2014 midterm elections to 45 percent in 2018. For National Voter Registration Day, the UCLA chapter is working closely with the California secretary of state’s office to promote the Ballot Bowl, a friendly competition designed to encourage universities and colleges to engage students in the democratic process and register them to vote.
Connect with Nic for a student perspective on how students are building diverse coalitions on college campuses to help turn out the youth vote.
Andres Cubillos, Florida PIRG Students, Florida State University
As a freshman, Andres is helping hundreds of students at FSU join him in voting for the first time this election. He is working with student housing administrators to host a vote competition between on-campus dorms to see who can register the most residents before the deadline. On National Voter Registration Day, FSU will kick off a citywide competition with student housing from Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College to help students register at their new addresses.
Connect with Andres for a student perspective on how students are working student housing and university faculty on college campuses to help turn out the youth vote.
We are hosting virtual events on more than 100 campuses in the 16 states listed below. For information on these events or to talk to student leaders, please contact Manny Rin at [email protected]/opentextbookalliance
Follow National Voter Registration Day activities through social media on September 22 by searching #PIRG, #NVRD, #NationalVoterRegistrationDay, #CampusTakeover and by following @StudentPIRGs
|The Student PIRGs voter registration and turnout effort is part of its New Voters Project campaign, one of the largest nonpartisan youth voter mobilization efforts in the country. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project has run peer-to-peer student voter mobilization drives to turn out the youth vote on college campuses for more than 30 years. Its philosophy is that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. The New Voters Project does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, a political candidate or political party for elected office.|
|Founded in 2012, National Voter Registration Day is designed to create an annual moment when the entire nation focuses on registering Americans to exercise their most basic right—the right to vote. Nearly 3 million Americans have registered to vote on the holiday since the inaugural National Voter Registration Day in 2012.|