Posts Tagged 'Citizen Voter'

Engage the Election 2012: A Webinar Series

The American Democracy Project’s partner organization, The Democracy Commitment (TDC) is sponsoring a set of three free webinars in August focused on the 2012 election cycle. I encourage you to participate to learn more about the work of six leading organizations in the voter registration and education community. The webinars will provide resources and ideas for campus programming.

Thank you TDC for including us!

– Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager


Webinar Series

Hosted by The Democracy Commitment, the Engage the Election: 2012 webinar series is an opportunity for college and university campuses to learn more about the programs and resources available to them through national organizations including CIRCLE, the League of Women Voters, the Campus Vote Project, and Student PIRGs. The webinars will presente offerings intended to help ADP & TDC campuses in their efforts to reach out and better engage both students on campus and members of the community in the upcoming national election.

We’re very excited for the opportunity to share the work happening with our national partners and how their resources can help you engage your students in the upcoming national election. We have a great lineup the first three Mondays in August.

To download a schedule with webinar summaries, click here. To register for the webinar series, click here. The password to register is: TDCEngage2012

The following are dates for the webinar series and the presenting partner organizations with a summary of their 30-minute webinar.


Monday, August 6, 2012 @ 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

Fantasy Politics

The webinar will begin with a brief demo of Fantasy Politics, a free and addictive educational game that applies fantasy football dynamics to politics. Then we will go over how this fits into a civics/social studies/government curriculum as well as discuss best practices for driving student engagement well beyond what would be possible with a textbook. Finally, we’ll finish the session with Q&A.

Presenter: Aaron Michel, CEO

Use Your Vote. Raise Our Voice.

The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is a non-partisan student mobilization campaign. Since 1984 we’ve helped to register more than 1.7million people. This webinar will talk through our best practices for ensuring your campus registers and turns out on Election Day. For more information on our campaign check out

Presenter: Leigh-Anne Cole, New Voters Project Director


Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters, a leader in engaging and empowering voters for more than 90 years, is active in 800 communities nationwide and ready to work with community college campuses this fall! From helping out with voter registration drives to providing quality nonpartisan information about candidates and the basics you need to know to help your friends get ready for Election Day, the League stands ready to work together. The webinar will be about the League’s work and ways you can join forces with a local League in your area.

Presenter: Maggie Duncan, Elections Program Manager

Campus Vote Project (CVP)

CVP is a campaign of the Fair Elections Legal Network to help colleges break down barriers to voting that disproportionately affect students. This webinar will summarize specific reforms from the CVP toolkit that a school can implement to get college students the information they need to register and vote. It will also cover important election rules and will describe the state-specific resources CVP can provide to support election awareness, voter registration, and GOTV efforts.

Presenter: Dan Vicuna, Staff Attorney and Campus Vote Project Coordinator


Monday, August 20, 2012 @ 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

Turbo Vote

TurboVote is a service that makes registering to vote, voting by mail, and never missing an election as easy as renting a netflix DVD.  Over 20 colleges across the country have partnered with TurboVote to provide the service on their campuses.  In this webinar, TurboVote Director of Partnerships Sam Novey will discuss exactly how TurboVote works for both users and institutional partners.

Presenter: Seth Flaxman, Executive Director and Co-founder


TurboVote is a service that makes registering to vote, voting by mail, and never missing an election as easy as renting a netflix DVD.  Over 20 colleges across the country have partnered with TurboVote to provide the service on their campuses.  In this webinar, TurboVote Director of Partnerships Sam Novey will discuss exactly how TurboVote works for both users and institutional partners.

Presenter: Nancy Thomas, Director, Initiatives for the Study of Higher Education and Public Life


To download a schedule with webinar summaries, click here. To register for the webinar series, click here. The password to register is: TDCEngage2012

For more information about Engage the Election: 2012 you can visit TDC’s website under “Initiatives.” You can also engage amongst your colleagues and students on the Engage the Election: 2012 Facebook page.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone on your college campus that you believe would benefit from the information and resources of this series.

Super Saturday at Kennesaw State University

By Carlton Usher, Kennesaw State University

Super Saturday is the Atlanta Urban League Young Professional’s (AULYP) annual voter education series that emphasizes voting in national, state and local elections, as well as working with elected officials to enact change. Kennesaw State University’s American Democracy Project has been and remains a central partner since 2006.  In 2006, Dr. Carlton Usher accompanied eight students affiliated with the African American Male Initiatives at Kennesaw State University (KSUAAMI) to the first event held at D.M. Terrell High School in Atlanta.

After the successful event at Terrell High School, Dr. Usher met with several community organizers to explore the possibility of organizing another event with Kennesaw State University as a major participant. Consequently, with the support of Dr. Ralph Rascati, Dean of the University College, and other members of the American Democracy Project team, Dr. Usher initiated a strong and lasting partnership with AULYP. The AULYP consists of bright and focused young leaders with strong reputations in governance, community development, and entrepreneurship. We remain extremely proud go these future leaders.

Super Saturday 2008 featured opening remarks by Beverly Hall, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, a keynote by Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort whose tireless work includes countering mortgage and lending redlining and gentrification in the downtown Atlanta neighborhoods.  The mayoral panel moderated by WSBTV 2 reporter Tom Jones included the then

Super Saturday 2008: Candidate now Mayor Elect Kasim Reed, Dr. Carlton Usher and Kennesaw State University Students

Candidate and current mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta City Council members Mary Norwood and Caesar Mitchell, and Jessie Spikes senior partner at McKenna Long and Aldridge


Super Saturday 2009 featured candidates Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed, Jessie Spikes and Glenn Thomas. Opening remarks were delivered by Atlanta Deputy Fire Chief Nishiyama Willis.

Super Saturday 2009: mayoral candidates Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed, Lisa Borders, Jessie Spikes and Glenn Thomas, Dr. Carlton Usher, Sherwin Murray.


With the City Council President Lisa Borders conceding in a very close race, and the new mayor Kasim Reed in place, we focused our Super Saturday 2010 on the gubernatorial primary. Unlike the past events planned for September, this day of civic engagement was slated for considering both major parties primaries for July 20, 2010.  A crowd of approximately 100 people heard Democrats DuBose Porter, David Poythress, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, and Bill Bolton, as well as representatives of Democrat Carl Camon and Republican John Oxendine. The candidates discussed the challenges they believe the next governor should address. Most

Super Saturday 2010: Georgia Gubernatorial Debates, Grady High School Atlanta, Georgia

talked about the state of the economy, local issues such as transportation, water, and public safety. After a few opening remarks from several local political strategists and lawmakers, the audience experienced an awesome and heartfelt keynote address by labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond (he is currently running for the senate against incumbent John Isakson).  CBS news anchor Danielle Knox moderated the event and several news outlets interviewed the candidates before and after the debates. The coverage was extensive and Kennesaw and the American Democracy Project’s work in conjunction the AULYP remains one of the hallmark events leading up to the November election.

Georgia Gubernatorial candidates take questions from reporters.

Georgia Gubernatorial candidates take questions from reporters.

Georgia Gubernatorial candidates take questions from reporters.







Media and Elections: The Return of the Citizen Voter

By Bill Payne, University of Minnesota, Duluth

In 2004, I traveled America making a documentary about why only half of Americans who are eligible to vote choose to do so. At the time, I was a 44 year-old liberal. Zack Swanson, a 24 year-old conservative, traveled with me as co-producer and videographer. We went to 22 states and interviewed about 300 people on camera. The result was the documentary 50/50: The American Divide.

I learned a lot. The most profound insight I gained was how complex individual voters are. We approached many people on the street, describing our documentary and telling the subject that we were from different sides of the political spectrum. We engaged people in conversation about why they vote or don’t vote, how they perceived media coverage of politics, and what they felt needed to change about the electoral process to get more people involved.

The Americans we interviewed were complex and difficult to characterize using the simplistic labels we see so often in the media or polls. Liberals espoused conservative views. Conservatives expressed liberal views. And almost everyone was disgusted with the influence of money on elections and the way the media reported the process.

I had made a commitment during the shooting of the documentary to study the media and how it was reporting the election. What Zack and I experienced in person was far different than what we saw being reported on television, in print media, and on talk radio. American voters, and the politicians that vie to represent their views, cannot be fairly represented in 30-second sound bites.

What really matters in an election is representation. An individual must decide which candidate will best represent them when the governing body begins to address the legislative issues before us. Each citizen must develop a political perspective. They must gather the information they need to determine which candidate will represent their perspective most often. In 1776, Americans declared:

“….governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

The electoral process is designed to continually “institute new government”. Information gathering is crucial to this ongoing reinvention. Without information that has integrity, we cannot make good decisions. The media, which acts as the largest and most pervasive conduit of information, is not driven by what will most likely result in our “collective safety and happiness”. It is driven by economic and political self-interest.

We the people cannot allow the media to be the only way the story of the next election will be told. They will begin to frame the story of the 2012 election November 3rd of this year. It will not be a true representation of who we are, what we want or need, or how we see the issues. It will perpetuate the consumer politics that have infantilized us.

My experience making 50/50 taught me to engage with people who disagreed with me. If we all try to do this, the conversation that ensues may help us create government in a way that will allow us to move forward as we are able. This act of reaching across political difference, coupled with other initiatives sure to arise from the many citizens that will become involved in this movement, can bring the responsibility of governance back into the hands of “We The People”.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the ADP blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 241 other followers


Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 241 other followers