New Voters Project – June 2020 Update

We’re spending the summer giving hundreds of young people a crash course in effective citizenship and an opportunity to help ensure the voice of their generation is heard on Election Day, by helping to reach out to their peers to register to vote, navigate vote by mail laws, and pledge to vote safely this coming November.


Michigan

PIRGIM Students are working hard to ensure their peers are registered and turn out to vote before the August 4th primary elections. In just a few weeks, the team has hired 40 interns and engaged 50 volunteers to contact thousands of their peers to update their voter registration. 

Intern Rebekah Long, a student at Michigan State University, kicked off a 3-day Pledge To Vote Safely campaign event. At the campaign event, students reached out to their friends and classmates asking them to take the pledge to vote safely–by registering online, applying for their absentee ballot, and encouraging their friends and family to do the same.

Since the announcement from Secretary of State Benson that all 7.7 million registered voters in Michigan will be sent absentee ballot applications, we’ve launched a thank you campaign on social media. In the last two days, more than 25 students tweeted thanking the Secretary of State for her commitment to democracy while protecting the health and safety of Michiganders during the pandemic.


Washington

WashPIRG Students at the University of Washington hosted a discussion on democracy and voting during a pandemic with Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman and PIRG Democracy Director Joe Ready. Chapter leader Olivia Harber moderated the discussion, which had over 45 attendees.


North Carolina

More than 40 students were hired to intern with NCPIRG Students over the summer. During their first meeting, the team took action to generate online voter registrations, sending out 838 text messages to friends reminding them to register to vote, emailing 230 faculty members to get the word out, and making 46 social media posts!


Wisconsin

So far, 20 students are spending their summer interning with WISPIRG Students, and have already gotten to work collecting pledges from students to vote safely (activating over 100 students in only two hours). Student leaders are also working with administrators from the University of Wisconsin system to adopt civic engagement plans to institutionalize civic engagement on campus by using tactics including sending campus-wide voter registration emails and providing students opportunities to register to vote when they register for class.


Florida

Florida PIRG Students hired 57 students to intern over the summer. The Florida PIRG Students team is organizing at 11 campuses that enroll 200,000 students. At the University of Florida, we’re working with the president of the Panhellenic Association (representing all campus sororities) to help register all 4,500 sorority members. We’re also in discussion with the presidents of the Multicultural Greek Council, the Fraternity Council, and the National Panhellenic Council to help register their members cast their ballots.


Oregon

The deadline to drop off primary ballots in Oregon was late May, and the OSPIRG Students team didn’t let the pandemic slow down their Get out the Vote efforts. They made over 10,000 student contacts through phone calls, emails, and text messages, and shared an inspiring video on Twitter of why students were making their voices heard in the election.


Partnerships

To help make our work more successful and amplify the voice of students we work closely with State Youth Tables and State C3 Tables. We’re also excited to be partnering with other leading civic engagement organizations and projects, including:

Rock the Vote, artists, and partners, including the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project, are kicking off “Democracy Summer” with a once in a lifetime lineup of speakers, performances and interactive surprises on June 18th, 2020. More information at DemocracySummer.org.


The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is an Election Protection Coalition National Partner. Election Protection is the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition, working throughout the year to help ensure all eligible American citizens have the opportunity to cast a meaningful ballot and have that vote counted. National partners work to support the existing Election Protection infrastructure and play a pivotal role in the overall direction, strategy and implementation of Election Protection efforts. More information at 866OurVote.org.


The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is a partner of When We All Vote, founded by Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American. More information at WhenWeAllVote.org.


National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy. First observed in 2012, it has quickly gained momentum ever since. Nearly 3 million voters have registered to vote on the holiday to date. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is a premier partner and will be helping to register students on this year’s date of September 22, 2020. More information at NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org.


Vote Early Day is a movement of nonprofits, businesses, election administrators, and creatives working to ensure all Americans know their options to vote early. Voting early and safely by mail ensures that school, work, long lines, or a bad commute on Election Day won’t stop your ballot from being counted. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is a premier partner and will be reminding students to send in their ballots on October 24th, 2020. More information at VoteEarlyDay.org.


Ask Every Student uses the framework that full student voter participation comes from integrating person-to-person voter registration into existing processes, such as orientation or classes that reach all students. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is working to ensure our target campuses create programs that ask every student about their democratic engagement plan. More information at StudentVoting.org.


CALPIRG Students is partnering with the California Secretary of State’s office to launch the California University and College Ballot Bowl, a friendly competition designed to encourage universities and colleges to engage their students in the democratic process and register them to vote. More information at sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-bowl/.


About The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project
PIRG New Voters Project, Inc. is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with 4945(f) status. We work on 60 campuses across the country to activate the largest voting bloc in the country. Young people continue to be underrepresented in our democracy, so we work to make sure every student has the opportunity to have their voice heard in our elections by building a culture of civic engagement on college campuses. We engage students, faculty, and administrators to build lasting systems of voter engagement for the long term.
Since 1984, our field based, non-partisan effort helped to register over 2 million young people and make over 3 million Get out the Vote contacts reminding young people where, when, and how to vote. We have tested new field models to ensure we are running the most effective civic engagement program possible. One study of our program showed that 76.3 percent of the voters we helped to register turned out to the polls, among the highest rates of all non-partisan voter registration efforts. 68.8 percent of voters we helped to register were brand-new registrants, making the project one of the most effective ways to bring new voters into the electoral process.
About The Student PIRGs
Students have the right and the responsibility to shape the future we will inherit. Our program spans over 100 campuses in 11 states, of which 35 campuses have self-funding programs, that provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For over 40 years we’ve helped our campus communities get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change. Every year, over 4,000 students gain hands-on experience in organizing and activism by volunteering with us to generate 150,000 grassroots actions.