Last Tuesday marked the 10th annual National Voter Registration Day, and the nonpartisan Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project was out in full force to help students register to vote and prepare for the upcoming midterm election. We know our democracy only works when everyone participates.

It’s why our team is using the latest data, both internally and from civic research groups like CIRCLE, to focus on the tactics we know drive youth voter turnout. Our model increases youth turnout. Leading up to the 2020 election, 85% of young people we helped register turned out to vote and students at college campuses with a PIRG club or chapter turned out at 6 percentage points higher than the national average. In 2020, that meant 89,000 more young voters.

Last week, our team helped hundreds of students register to vote and educated thousands more, using relational and peer-to-peer organizing to spread the word about how students can get registered and cast their ballots this fall. That work took place on 73 campuses in 27 states on one day alone, and we’re just getting started.

See what PIRG student leaders like Quanzelle Austrie, Alexis Dorman, and Elijah Hooks had to say about the importance of voting during National Voter Registration Day!

Over the summer, we prepared for the fall by training dozens of student leaders who graduated from our Civic Leadership Training Program, giving them the skills and experience to lead our campus-based civic engagement efforts this fall.

Student leaders worked with over 100 volunteers to organize events including text and phone banks, class announcements, educational tables, trainings, and social media parties to get their peers engaged. We also contacted over 200,000 students via email and 11,000 through text message with information about voter registration and the upcoming election. (Of course, no celebration of our democracy and voting would be complete without some dogs, so we brought Democracy Dogs to college campuses too.)

More highlights from the day

Wayne State University, MI (Top Left) Eckerd College, FL (Top Middle) Rutgers New Brunswick, NJ (Right), University of Massachusetts – Amherst, MA (Bottom). PIRG student leaders helped almost 700 students get registered to vote in one day!
University of Massachusetts – Boston, MA (Top Left) Florida A&M University, FL (Top Middle), University of Massachusetts – Amherst, MA (Top Right) University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, NC (Bottom Left), Salem State University, MA (Bottom Middle and Right)
Florida A&M University Students with Tallahassee Mayor John E. Dailey (Top Left), University of South Florida Vote coalition (Top Right) Florida State University Vote Coalition (Bottom Left), Salem State University students and University President John D. Keenan (Bottom Right)
Smith College, MA (Top Left), University of South Florida, FL (Top Middle), Eckerd College, FL (Top Right), Florida State University (Bottom Left), Salem State University, MA (Bottom Right)

I’m excited to keep you updated and share highlights as we continue encouraging youth participation in our democracy. If you have any thoughts on our program or want to learn more about our plans for the upcoming election, please reach out or follow me on Twitter @mannyrin.

Manny Rin
Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project

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 100 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 82% of the young people we helped to register leading up to the 2020 election turned out to vote, while 75% of the young people contacted through our peer-to-peer GOTV program turned out to vote. This compares to 68.5% of a representative sample of college students overall who were registered and voted in 2016.
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 22 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 almost 50 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.