How to Get Out the Vote on College Campuses

Students have the right to register to vote in the place they consider their home. However, local jurisdictions and states across the country are increasingly implementing strict voter requirements that can impede students’ access. Knowing this, AAUW and the AAUW Action Fund’s efforts to promote voter registration on AAUW college/university partner campuses are more important than ever. Branch leaders and student leaders can use our guide for organizing a voter registration drive and follow the best practices below to help students register and vote.

Tackle the information deficit.

It’s not lack of interest that prevents students from voting. Arm them with the information they need about the voting process, important deadlines, and residency rules, and you will empower students to vote. Be sure to research voter identification and residency rules in your state and include absentee ballot applications in your efforts.

Buddy up.

Combine the powers of AAUW branches, student organizations, and C/U representatives on campus! By working together, you can help amplify and strengthen your efforts, share space, and coordinate resources. Whether you’re a student or branch member, e-mail and we’ll connect you.

Make it convenient.

Holding issue forums and candidate forums right on campus can help to illustrate the importance voting has on public policy decisions. Encouraging discourse on issues that impact students — think equal pay, campus sexual assault, and college affordability — will motivate them to become engaged citizens.

Seize every opportunity.

Voter registration can be incorporated into many campus events and activities, whether by providing paper registration forms, links to downloadable forms, or access to an online voter registration widget. New student orientation, move-in packets, residence hall meetings, student involvement fairs — make your pitch whenever and wherever you can.

Spread the word!

Use social media to publicize your registration drive, then post flyers, hang banners, or use sidewalk chalk to raise awareness about Election Day in advance of registration deadlines. The more reminders you can offer, the better.

Student Voting Resources


Tabling at Denison Jan2014

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How to Organize an Issue Forum

Foster community dialogue on current events or issues of relevance to AAUW, such as equal pay, campus sexual assault, or a recent AAUW research report. Learn how to host a panel discussion town hall, or tele-town hall!


How to Organize a Voter Registration Drive

This guide provides some easy steps to running a successful voter registration campaign. Read on, and remember that the AAUW public policy staff is here to help — consider them your resource and sounding board.