Campus Election Engagement Project-NC challenges students to register, vote

October 1, 2014

CEEP_Checkbox Logo_croppedWith the 2014 midterm elections fast approaching, NC Campus Compact is challenging college students to register and turnout on November 4. Since July, the Compact has been providing resources and training for student leaders and campus groups in our role as statewide facilitator of the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP), a nonpartisan national effort to involve college students in elections. Already, the initiative has granted nearly $10,000 to Student Government Associations and other groups to support voter engagement activities on 16 North Carolina campuses. Over 50 individuals from 26 campuses have participated in voter engagement trainings offered by the Compact and its partners.

“Some key changes to North Carolina’s election process – including a shortened early voting period – will go into effect in the 2014 midterms,” said NC Campus Compact Interim Executive Director Leslie Garvin, who directs the voter engagement project. “So part of our goal is to get that information out. But our main mission is simply to encourage students to be active citizens.”

Campus groups have been busy conducting voter outreach and registration drives across the state. Elizabeth City State University outpaced four other campuses in a voter registration contest held on National Voter Registration Day, September 23. ECSU SGA President McKinley Strother led a team of ECSU students who collected 68 voter registration forms, earning the school a $450 prize. Earlier this fall, ECSU’s Student Government Association also received a $300 grant from CEEP.

Historically, voter turnout in midterm elections is low, especially among college-aged youth. Just 23% of North Carolina registered voters aged 18-29 voted in the 2010 midterm elections, according to the Center for Information on Civic Learning and Engagement. This rate was roughly on par with the national average but still 28 points below that for voters over 30.

North Carolina’s voter registration deadline is October 10. The state’s early voting period begins October 23 and ends on November 1.

On election day, campuses and students can take part in the NC Student Voting Challenge. After voting, students will take a “selfie” wearing their “I voted” sticker, and post the photo to Instagram with the hashtag #NCVotingChallenge. The campus with the most entries will earn a $450 prize for its voter engagement coalition.

Many campus leaders are primed to mobilize peers this election season after participating in the Compact’s voter engagement training series, delivered this summer with the help of several partner organizations. NCPIRG delivered “Understanding the New North Carolina Voting Law,” the Fair Elections Legal Network presented on its “Campus Vote Project,” and TurboVote shared information about its new voter engagement services. The Compact has also collected a trove of state-specific and campus-oriented election resources on our CEEP-NC webpage.

The following member campuses received Voter Engagement Coalition grants or Student Government Association grants:

Bennett College
Davidson College
East Carolina University
Elizabeth City State University
Elon University
Fayetteville State University
Meredith College
Pfeiffer University
Pitt Community College
Queens University of Charlotte
UNC Chapel Hill
UNC Charlotte
UNC Greensboro
UNC Wilmington
Wake Forest University
Western Carolina University