My name is Brandon and I’m the Director of Communications for Democracy Works, makers of TurboVote. Over the next month or so, I’ll be sending you periodic emails to check-in with you about TurboVote implementation — ways we can help, ideas you can try, and tactics that have worked on other campuses. As the school year begins, this is the perfect time to get new students signed up for TurboVote and engaged with voting for life. Think of this as the kickoff to a new year!
TurboVote Office Hours
First and foremost, our Partnerships Team is a resource for you! These highly-motivated folks are available to do whatever they can to help you build a gameplan to get the greatest number of students signed up for TurboVote as possible. This year, we’re hosting TurboVote Office Hours, where you can join a virtual conference (by video or phone) to ask any questions about TurboVote you might have. TurboVote Office Hours will be hosted on Tuesday, September 15th 11:00a - 02:00p ET. You can access these office hours by going to https://zoom.us/j/782257164 or by calling 718-923-1400. We can’t wait to see you there!
Partner Spotlight: Vassar College
The orientation for new students at Vassar College in New York is similar to many schools. New students go through all the normal steps of entering an institution for the first time — signing up for new classes, obtaining residence hall assignments — but they also sign something called the “Matriculation Book.” It’s become a tradition for all new students.
The Vassar chapter of Democracy Matters has worked to engrain voter registration into this process as a means of guaranteed exposure to new students. Sophie Gonsalves-Brown and Sam Beckenhauer, Vassar Democracy Matters chapter leaders, staffed a table during the entirety of orientation with laptops so students could easily register to vote after signing the Matriculation Book. As a result, Vassar signed up 254 students in a single day in August (the total 2019 student class is 668)! Vassar's Dean of Students, David D.B. Brown, helps encourage all new students to register to vote after signing the Matriculation Book and supports voter engagement as a fundamental part of attending Vassar College.
Tips and Tools
We are dedicated to making your campus TurboVote implementation as successful as possible, so we’ve written a toolkit that will share some of the best partner implementation ideas with you! It’s very close to being released, but we’ll be sharing a small portion of this toolkit with you each week to highlight quick and easy ways you can push your voter engagement program.
The use of social media is a simple tactic that you can use to connect with students and to highlight existing events to help make them even more successful. Check out these quick tips from the implementation toolkit to utilize social media in your voter engagement efforts!
- Be direct and be brief. Those subscribing to your social media channels are likely to see your post for only a brief time, so use concise language to emphasize your meaning. For example, “Today is National Voter Registration Day! Visit our TurboVote site to register to vote and sign-up for free election reminders. [insert link here.]”
- Include a call to action. Social media can foster conversation as well as action. Asking your followers to participate in a pre-planned voter registration competition with a rival school, for instance, can produce greater results than passively distributing information.
- Use simple hashtags, when available, in your posts to create an easy avenue for campus interaction. For example, #NVRD, #yourschoolnameVotes, or #TurboVote.
- Visual content, such as photos and videos, can create a more compelling and engaging social media post. Post digital posters for campus registration events, photos of your school mascot using TurboVote, or a short video of students talking about why registering to vote is important to them.
- Prepare your social media posts ahead of scheduled events. If you know of a tabling day or a registration competition between on-campus organizations, plan the social media content and posting times beforehand and post them before the events take place.
Each week, I’ll also be updating you on our national leaderboards for total sign-ups and sign-ups as a percentage of total students at an institution.
Leaderboard, Total Sign-ups, Sept. 3:
- Case Western Reserve University - 712
- Polk State College - 355
- Salisbury University - 333
- Miami Dade College - 291
- Vassar College - 260
- William Paterson University - 199
- Arizona State University - 184
- Montclair State University - 174
- Palm Beach State College - 144
- Broward College - 118
- Seton Hall University - 117
- Clayton State University - 116
- The College Hill Alliance/Mercer University - 115
- University of Nevada, Reno - 111
- Rollins College - 109
- Boise State University - 99
- Towson University - 97
- Hastings College - 93
- St. Petersburg College - 86
- Norfolk State University - 82
- Simpson College - 82
- Eastern Florida State College - 79
- The College of William & Mary - 79
- Stanford University - 73
- Northeastern Illinois University - 72
Leaderboard, Percentage of Student Body Sign-ups, Sept. 3:
- Case Western Reserve University - 15.28%
- Vassar College - 10.50%
- Hastings College - 8.32%
- Rollins College - 5.77%
- Polk State College - 5.25%
- Simpson College - 4.79%
- Salisbury University - 4.16%
- Occidental College - 2.82%
- The College Hill Alliance/Mercer University - 2.60%
- Seton Hall University - 2.17%
- William Paterson University - 1.98%
- Clayton State University - 1.68%
- Richard Bland College of William & Mary - 1.68%
- Marlboro College - 1.66%
- Ringling College - 1.60%
- Stetson University - 1.58%
- Norfolk State University - 1.36%
- The College of William & Mary - 1.26%
- Montclair State University - 1.13%
- Stanford University - 1.03%
- The University of Mary Washington - 1.03%
- Ramapo College - 1.00%
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago - 0.88%
- Chatham University - 0.82%
- Palm Beach State College - 0.82%
That’s it for this week, but you’ll be hearing from me soon with more tips and the updated leaderboard!
I hope you’ve found some valuable information here about how you can add on to your TurboVote implementation and voter engagement efforts, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week…
Director of Communications
Democracy Works, makers of TurboVote