Voter Engagement Networking Event Recap

September 12, 2018

Last Wednesday, Illinois Campus Compact gathered faculty and staff from colleges and universities to discuss campus voter engagement. Hosted at University of Illinois at Chicago, attendees listened to organizations, BallotReady, State Matters, and Campus Election Engagement Project explain their resources.

A representative from BallotReady described their online voter guides. Voters can see what and who will be on their ballot by just typing in their address. Not only can a voter see who is running, but BallotReady also offers information on each candidate. BallotReady has gathered information on candidates from reliable sources so that voters can find all the information they need in one convenient location. BallotReady is passionate about giving voters the information they need, especially when it comes to local elections.

Similar to BallotReady, State Matters wants voters to feel confident when going to the polls. They also find ways to make voting exciting! To explain how state government works, State Matters creates videos that are easy to understand and informative. With these impressive videos, State Matters explains how to contact your representatives, what witness slips are, and much more related to government and voting!

State Matters and BallotReady are also teaming up to throw parties! That’s right – they want you to throw a party, a Ballot Party. One their site, these parties are explained as “Ballot Parties are a place for you, your friends, and your neighbors to come together and learn about the issues facing your communities and the candidates that are up for election.  Researching your ballot is frustrating and time-consuming. So whether it is in an office, park, bar, or someone’s living room, we want to make preparing to vote a fun and stress-free experience.”

Ballot Party and State Matters were not the only organizations there. Campus Election Engagement Project was also at the networking event. The CEEP Graduate Assistant explained the resources that they offer to colleges and universities. These resources include nonpartisan candidate and issue guides that can be downloaded from their site. Schools can also adapt these voter guides to fit their needs. Along with voter guides, CEEP also helps builds capacity for Get Out the Vote and voter registration. CEEP also offers fellowships for students to lead voter engagement initiatives on select campuses.

After each organization shared information, staff and faculty was able to ask specific questions about using these resources for their benefits. Attendees were then able to discuss with other faculty and staff successes, ideas, and problems they came across regarding voter engagement.