Seven Key Ways to Act

How do we engage America’s 20 million students in our nation’s elections?

Campus Election Engagement Project works with campus administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders, helping them engage their students in local, state and federal elections. 7 Key Ways is our master roadmap for how to navigate students through the ever-changing barriers to voting. We’ve summarized our major engagement areas below and you can download a PDF of the full Seven Key Ways resource here.

What makes our approach effective?

Student voting doesn’t just happen. It takes cultivation. We’ve developed seven key areas of electoral engagement to create a roadmap for increasing your level of success, areas that complement each other as you effectively engage your campus. Our approaches address all the key barriers to participation, from lack of information about the election process, to student cynicism about whether their voices matter. You don’t have to do everything on this list to make a major difference, but these approaches reinforce each other, so it’s crucial to address all seven areas — choosing approaches that fit your campus best. The earlier you start the better, particularly for approaches that take significant institutional planning.

1. Build a team. No one can engage an entire campus, so create a core group to coordinate engagement efforts, divide up the work and ensure key stakeholders communicate.

2. Register students to vote. It’s the first step to student electoral participation. Set campus-wide goals and plan ways to implement them.

3. Educate students on issues and candidates. Offer clear information on where candidates stand, so students can make informed choices.

4. Help students to volunteer with partisan or nonpartisan campaigns of their choice. Early civic involvement patterns tend to stick, and this makes future participation more likely.

5. Build election excitement and visibility leading up to Election Day, using every appropriate channel.

6. Get out the vote. Make sure students know where to vote, when to vote and what to bring. Combine face-to-face and online technologies to engage all eligible students.

7. Measure your impact. Document your work as you go so you can see what works and what doesn’t. Monitor your progress and keep on building a foundation for the future.