Each major election year, PHENND provides information to member campuses about how to engage students in the political process, particularly as volunteers. As usual, here is a list of ideas, resources and materials for your review.

Sponsor a Voter Registration Drive on the campus

To assist, PHENND has provided materials on absentee voting for the region and the rest of the United States. Download materials on Absentee Voting

Important info about student voter registration in Pennsylvania: http://www.dos.state.pa.us/voting/lib/voting/guide/studentvotingguide_05.pdf

Note: the last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania for the November General Election is Monday, October 6, 2008.

Hold a Voter Education event on the campus

To assist, PHENND produced a workshop guide entitled “Why Should I Vote.” This workshop is designed for college students and other young people to help them think about the reasons one should vote. The workshop is specific to the U.S. and assumes that the participants are eligible to vote. The workshop is interactive and covers the history of the vote, reasons not to vote, and specifics of voting procedures.

Download PHENND’s workshop guide “Why Should I Vote?”: whyvote2008.pdf (PDF | 112 K)

Note: This is a comprehensive overview of voting history, current voting practices, reasons to vote, and how to vote in Pennsylvania. It is designed as a 2-hour workshop but may take longer depending on the audience. Please feel free to customize and modify to your particular tastes and setting. This workshop is also untested – so if you use it please let us know so we can improve the workshop for future use.

Recruit students to act as “Urban Voter Volunteers”

The premise of the Urban Voters Campaign is that if someone is reminded to vote, they will. Anyone, including college students, could pledge to remind their neighbors, friends, fraternity, residence hall, etc., to vote on Election Day.

Recruit students to volunteer to register others to vote

  • Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) mounted a campaign to register all eligible Philadelphia public high school students. They will have a Young Voter Registration Rally, Saturday, Sept. 20, 12-4 PM at Dilworth Plaza outside City Hall. For more information, contact Sheila at sheilas@pccy.org or 215-563-5848 x. 12.
  • Project H.O.M.E.’s Vote for Homes! Campaign registers homeless and low-income individuals each year. Contact Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272, x3042 for more information.

Recruit students to be Poll Watchers on Election Day

Contact the Committee of Seventy to help ensure that polling places run smoothly and that all citizens have a chance to exercise their vote. Seventy is looking for:

  • Field Volunteers work on teams of 2 – 3 traveling between polling places in an assigned geographic area answering voters’ questions, resolving minor problems, and passing larger problems on to Seventy’s legal team.
  • Office Volunteers work in the Hotline Call Center, answering calls to 1-866-OUR-VOTE from voters, polling place officials, and volunteers. Office Volunteers resolve as many problems as possible over the phone.

Please contact Jon David, Director of Voter Services at Committee of Seventy at 215-557-3600, ext. 110 or jdavid@seventy.org, if you would like to get involved or have any questions.

Recruit students to be Spanish-speaking interpreters on Election Day

The City of Philadelphia is undertaking a major effort to recruit at least 300 Spanish-speaking interpreters for the November 4, 2008 Presidential election. Given the intense popular interest in and importance of this year’s Presidential Election, the City has teamed up with Campus Philly in the hope that local college students who speak Spanish will want to join in the City’s efforts and perform a vital public service by serving as interpreters for Philadelphia residents whose primary language is Spanish. We are looking for students who have a grasp of conversational Spanish. Faculty and staff are also welcome to volunteer!

To that end, the City would like to work with you to enlist those students who speak Spanish to assist voters. If you would help us by:

The City hopes to work with individual faculty members to coordinate the recruitment effort perhaps by including the interpreter service as a part of course curriculum or as part of a service project.

The time commitment is relatively minimal–any interested student will attend one two-hour training and certification session shortly before election day and will serve as an interpreter for one of two 6.5 hour shifts on election day.

If you are interested in joining the City in this worthwhile effort, please respond to this e-mail. Please include in your response the number of students you can think of that would be willing to assist and any ideas you have for incorporating this effort into your curriculum or public service requirement. You may also ask students to respond directly. In the coming weeks, the City will have more detailed information on the certification process and we will certainly forward that information to you as it becomes available.

The City looks forward to working with you to ensuring a smooth election day for all Philadelphians!