Voter Engagement Initiatives
Appalachian & the Community Together (ACT) has been charged with spearheading the University’s effort related to election engagement initiatives on campus. While this has been the case for some years now, ACT has new found capacity to engage in these efforts, largely due to the impacts of COVID-19 on ACT’s traditional programming. ACT is choosing to view the challenges of a global pandemic on in-person community engagement efforts as a unique opportunity to pursue voter engagement initiatives. This shift aligns with the direction in which university community and civic engagement efforts are moving nationwide.
ACT serves as a non-partisan resource for students at Appalachian State University and the voters of Watauga County. Through upcoming education, events, and use of the AppVotes website, students will have access to the necessary resources to register to vote, create a voting plan, and learn about what is on the ballot in upcoming elections. Our vision is to implement voter registration and education activities and increase student participation in local, state, and national voting and election initiatives this year and in future elections.
ACT’s election engagement efforts this fall will take place through a 3 tiered approach:
- September: Voter Registration & Census Participation
- October: Voter Education (how/where/when to vote & ballot information)
- Mid-October - November 3: Voter Mobilization
If you receive or have inquiries about voting, please send them to ACT and/or refer students to vote.appstate.edu for all voting questions and needs. If you and/or your students are interested in pursuing election engagement efforts, please work with ACT to streamline efforts; ACT has access to so many resources and organizations doing this work and can help to save time and energy by not recreating the wheel. ACT’s goal is to connect all of the election engagement work happening on campus in order to maximize our output and most effectively support our students in their voting practices and habits.
Notable items that have already been accomplished this academic year:
- Macki Snyder was named as an Election Engagement Sustainability Fellow through the North Carolina Campus Compact
- Two undergraduate students, Tori Joy and Grace Powers, have been selected and funded to serve as CEEP Fellows for the Fall 2020 semester
- Voter engagement was incorporated into the Trailhead curriculum; all first year students who attended Trailhead watched this amazing custom video on how to vote as a college student and were provided supplemental materials to reference regarding voter registration, education, and mobilization.
- All ACT student employees have received formal training on how to register folks to vote
- The AppVotes website has received a complete overhaul, making it more relevant to students and much easier to navigate