Posts tagged ‘voter education’
By Sarah Lugaric, Strategy & Partnerships, PollVault
Don’t Sweat the Ballot…
It’s like a bad dream. You walk into the final exam only to realize you’ve unwittingly neglected to study for over half the material on the test. But what if you happened to have your smartphone with you, pre-loaded with advice from the smartest students in the class on how to answer every question? And what if it was OK to use all that information, as long as it helped you arrive at the best answer?
In this case, it’s not your final exam – it’s your ballot on Election Day. And what most voters don’t know is that you can, in fact, bring your smartphone into the ballot box, and use it to help you make better voting decisions.
We’re hoping voters get that message this election season with the introduction of PollVault’s “See Your Ballot” tool. PollVault is a new site that enables anyone with an Internet connection, a few friends, and a few minutes of time to start making voting decisions that better reflect their values. PollVault gives voters access to an online version of their ballots and allows them to crowd-source ballot advice, or crowd-poll. And on November 6th, voters will be able to refer directly to this advice on their smartphones when filling out their actual ballot, allowing them to vote with new-found confidence.
“See Your Ballot” is the realization of PollVault founder Nolan Love’s 10-year dream to use technology to empower democracy. After a stint in the Peace Corps where Love witnessed rioting in the streets by citizens demanding fair elections, he was dismayed when he returned in 2000 to find an increasing feeling of disengagement from voters who had witnessed the overturn of the popular vote by the Supreme Court. He wondered why the country that created Google and Apple (and later, Facebook and Twitter) couldn’t find better ways to apply technology to empower citizens. After a decade developing custom web solutions for corporate clients, Love enlisted the help of a small, self-funded team of close friends to bring his dream to life just in time for the November 2012 election.
Old School vs. The Millennials
The problem is that up until now, getting ready to vote has been pretty old school. It involved scanning voter-guide booklets, leafing through stacks of flyers, and searching websites to see who your favorite organizations were endorsing. This contributed to a sense of overwhelm and confusion for new and experienced voters alike, creating unnecessary barriers to participation in the democratic process.
Our goal at PollVault was to modernize this process by allowing people to get help making voting decisions the same way they get help choosing doctors or car mechanics – by seeking the help of their friends. PollVault users can choose up to ten organizations, public figures, and/or trusted friends (we like to think of it as your own “Presidential Cabinet”) to help them learn more about key ballot measures and prepare their informed votes. The result is an easy-to-read grid showing voters their virtual ballots next to the endorsements of their advisor panel, which may include a personal colleague, the Sierra Club, the NRA, or Lady Gaga, for example.
This approach to voting is clearly a natural fit for tech-savvy voters – in other words, most Millennials. Rock the Vote and HeadCount, both of whom focus on empowering young voters, spotted the potential of PollVault’s “See Your Ballot” tool early on and are featuring it prominently on their websites this election season as a cornerstone of their voter education efforts.
A Proud Partnership
We are also proud to partner with the American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment who have been working on initiatives such as eCitizenship and the Engage the Election: 2012 to help inform and empower voters on campuses and universities throughout the nation.
This afternoon, The Democracy Commitment, in collaboration with the American Democracy Project, invites you to a joint webinar to represent and demonstrate PollVault along with another exciting election tool, Politify. If you are unable to make that date and time, the webinar will be recorded and posted online for later reference for anyone who wishes to view it.
In the meantime, please check us out at www.pollvault.com, and please send along your feedback either via through our site https://www.pollvault.com/polls/feedback or on our newly launched blog http://pollvault.wordpress.com/.
By Allison Rizzolo, Senior Communications Associate, Public Agenda
This election season, Public Agenda‘s nonpartisan Citizens’ Solutions Guides provide a roadmap for voters to navigate through some of the trickiest, yet most important, issues facing the country today.
A healthy democracy requires the active engagement and participation of its citizens. Unfortunately, too many young people–and adults, too–feel left out of the democratic process. They don’t think they have the skills or the knowledge to participate. Hostile partisan rhetoric leads many into abject cynicism or the sort of wishful thinking that won’t get us anywhere.
The Citizens’ Solutions Guides seek to remedy this situation, providing civic education resources to help us confront our problems in thoughtful and productive ways that will lead to sustainable solutions.
Citizens don’t need to be experts to weigh in on our options– we just need a few basic facts to understand the tradeoffs and consider our solutions. To this end, the Solutions Guides:
- provide the background necessary for understanding these complex issues;
- examine some of the approaches endorsed by candidates and policymakers from across the political spectrum; and
- look at some of the pros and cons for these approaches, from a variety of perspectives, so citizens can understand and weigh the tradeoffs inherent in any pathway forward.
In this way, citizens can think through what’s most important to them as they decide on the candidate that will receive their vote.
The Citizens’ Solutions Guides are written in approachable language and without the wonk or the rhetoric. The series is grounded in Public Agenda’s Choicework approach to deliberation, which helps get voters out of an either/or, politicized frame of thinking to start focusing on practical solutions.
The guides, made possible by the generous support of The Dilenschneider Group, tackle 6 important policy issues: the federal budget, energy, health care, immigration, education, and jobs and the economy. The guides can be used as discussion starters for community and group conversations in libraries and classrooms. Each guide is available as a free, interactive PDF, which can be accessed at http://www.publicagenda.org/pages/citizens-solutions-guides.
For more information about Public Agenda or the Citizens’ Solutions Guides, email Allison Rizzolo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the conversation on Twitter! Use hashtag #Solutions2012, and find us at @PublicAgenda.
Constitution Day 2012: 225th Anniversary Celebration & Education Plans
Responding ADP Colleges & Universities:
Here’s how ADP campuses are commemorating the 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.
California University of Pennsylvania | http://dev.calu.edu/academics/american-democracy-project/index.htm
Cal U has scheduled several panel sessions. The headline event features the nine students who attended the national political conventions. Panels: 1. Diversity in Politics: Race, Gender, and Religion; 2. Private Sector v. Public Sector: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs; 3. You Can’t Lead if You Don’t Vote; 4. Incivility in Politics: Meaner than Joe Greene; 5. Health Care: It’s Serious Business; 6. Conventional Wisdom: Two Candidates, Nine Students. Constitution Day is the kick-off of a campus-wide voter education and registration drive. It is particularly important this year, as the new state law prohibits online voter registration and requires state-issued voter IDs.
Clayton State University | http://www.clayton.edu/arts-sciences/constitutionday
Voter registration, New York Times talk on voter id laws, discussion on living constitutionalism and a constitutional debate. We are having a debate on the need for another constitutional convention after 225 years.
East Stroudsburg University
We are hosting a forum on the constitution’s protection of voting rights. We chose this issue because voting rights are a hot topic in Pennsylvania right now due to the passage of a recent Voter ID bill. We will also provide information on voting and voter registration.
Ferris State University
We will conduct an educational forum on the Electoral College. Additionally, our large contingency of international students will be required to attend the forum.
Florida Gulf Coast University
We will be having a Constitution Day Celebration on September 17th. We will have a professor speak on the importance of the Constitution and its effects on politics today as well as free mini constitutions, food and materials/information on parties and candidates for the upcoming election.
Illinois State University | http://americandemocracy.illinoisstate.edu/
We’ll have Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page on campus. He’ll meet with various student groups through the day and then deliver a presentation for campus on constitutional protections for civic engagement. We will unveil our new interactive civil debate wall. It’s technology based on the software used at the University of Florida; however, we are installing several kiosks around campus.
Indiana University East
Week-long events. Monday: cake and balloons and movie: National Treasure and Democracy board”Is the Constitution outdated? Tuesday: Indiana Supreme Court Justice presentation- voter registration. Wednesday: Lunch with local representatives. Thursday: Political Science Club registration
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has “lots” planned for Constitution Day! Including: a “find the word” Constitution game with 7-10 words that do not appear in the constitution but seem like they “should” be in the constitution; a Constitution Jeopardy game day; a “Pass the Mic” on issues related to free speech and violence against religions; and a guest speaker from FIRE coming to talk about students’ rights related to free speech.
Indiana University South Bend
Constitution Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 in front of the fountain on the campus mall. There will be free constitutions, trivia, food and games. Read more here.
Jacksonville State University
Two speakers on the meaning of the Constitution. Each has a different perspective. One is a Federalist Society lawyer and one is a “living Constitution” constitutional law professor. We are headlining it as the 225th Celebration. Our freshman students will be required to write a reflection paper. This will be a campus and community event.
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU will hold a naturalization ceremony for 300 new Americans. There will be a keynote address by the Chief Justice
of the Tennessee Supreme Court, The Honorable Gary R. Wade as well as campus-wide readings of the Constitution and the opportunity to print a copy of the 19th amendment on a Franklin-era printing press. For more information: MTSU Constitution Day Poster 2012
Missouri State University | http://publicaffairs.missouristate.edu/141935.htm and http://publicaffairs.missouristate.edu/118513.htm
For the full week of September 17, we will be leading a voter registration drive. For Constitution Day itself, we will be hosting an event from 11 am – 12:30 pm call “Constitution Day: Giving Voice”. For this event, Giving Voice to Constitution Day is an event designed to educate and empower the campus community as to their rights and freedoms provided to them by the United States Constitution. Giving Voice musical troupe will put on a special performance and all attendees will be given a pocket Constitution. Everyone on campus is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. Distribution of the pocket constitutions to bring awareness to the day.
Norfolk State University
Northeastern Illinois University
We will be celebrating on September 17th with a information tables, a speech by “Ben Franklin”, and the kick off of our campus voter registration drive.
Northwestern State University
Unfortunately a guest speaker had to cancel. Instead, two social scientists and a law/business professor will comprise a panel discussion on recent Supreme Court decisions from a Constitutional perspective.
On October 15th The Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement will be hosting a Gay Marriage Forum in celebration of Constitution Day. There will be two prominent speakers for both sides of the argument and their discussion will be based and put through the lenses of the Constitution. The Forum will be a large event, with invitations going out to the Salisbury Community as well as the campus community.
Sam Houston State University
Sarah Weddington, winning attorney in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade will deliver the keynote address “The Biggest U.S. Supreme Court Constitutional Controversies in 40 Years: What Arguing Roe v. Wade Can Teach Us About the Current Healthcare Debate” at 4 p.m. on Monday. Read more here.
SUNY College at Brockport
We plan to host our annual naturalization ceremony. We expect that between 65 and 70 new citizens will be sworn in. We are advised by USCIS that there may be a VIP visit to this year’s ceremony because it is the 225th anniversary. We won’t know until just a few days before the ceremony. We are working with Student Government to quiz students on knowledge of US civics and history, using questions from the test that candidates for naturalization must take. Read more here.
Lecture by Professor Judith Best, expert on the electoral college.
University of Central Missouri | http://libguides.uco.edu/constitution
We have a series of events throughout the week. This year’s theme is “It’s your Voice (Vote, Constitution, Rights, Country, Responsibility), Use It.” We hope students (and all campus community members) will gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities and how an involved citizenry is integral. Read more here. See UCMO’s flier: COMMEMORATING THE CONSTITUTION 2012.
University of Central Oklahoma | www.uco.edu/adp
We will host a special naturalization ceremony on campus, participate in the Oklahoma Campus Compact voter registration contest, and host a special Coffee with the Times discussion with President Don Betz.The campus community can join the National Conference on Citizenship conversation and the special naturalization ceremony online through the UCO site. This speaks to the significance of technology, social media and UCO’s Information Technology and Technology Resource Center.
Plans are still coming together. In the past we’ve used online forums to spark conversations, passed out copies of the Constitution and featured speakers.
University of Northern Iowa
1. Panel, including Iowa Secretary of State, on Voter ID: Voter Fraud or Voter Suppression (Free and open to public.) 2. Speaker on Eyewitness Identification: The Brain Lies, Not the Witness. 3. Workshop for middle school students. 4. Pocket constitutions to be distributed.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh | www.uwosh.edu/adp
We have engaged a speaker from Chicago Kent School of Law, Dr. Christopher Schmidt, to discuss the tension between the 9th and the 10th Amendments in a talk entitled “Broccoli, Liberty, and the Constitutional Battle over Health Care.” In addition we will be passing out several hundred pocket Constitutions along with cupcakes during lunchtime in the concourse of our campus union. Will also integrate voter registration awareness. ADP interns and a Civic Engagement class are reading sections of the Constitution to the campus community. Read more here.
Towson University | www.towson.edu/civicengagement
We will celebrate Constitution Day by hosting a New York Times Lunch Talk, which will be focused on a faculty facilitated discussion with students on the Constitution. Free pizza and beverages will be available at the event. Also, we will be giving away Constitution booklets across campus. We will celebrate Constitution Week with a myriad of events such as, an outdoor movie screening of Iron- Jawed Angels, and marketing events from other departments such as the Baltimore Black Heritage tour and a speaking engagement with Cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun and The Economist, Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher among other events. At our tabling events where we pass out Constitution booklets, we will make sure to have extra incentives to approach the table, including giveaways and food along with thoughtful conversations with students about the Constitution. We may do more, it has yet to be determined.
Washington State University Vancouver
Lunch time tabling including distribution of free copies of the Constitution and information about information literacy.
Weber State University | http://www.weber.edu/leadership/adp.html
We are planning on three days of celebrations. One day we are going to have a giant birthday cake for the Constitution and play a “Beat Dr. Sessions” quiz game where students will compete with our presidential distinguished History professor. A second day we are going to have a “Call to Action” day where local leaders come and talk about what they need students to do to be better citizens locally. The third day we will have a military panel during which student veterans and active military will talk about why the Constitution is important to them. We are having a birthday party for the 225th anniversary. We will be handing out pocket Constitutions at every event.
Western Illinois University
Panel discussion on Constitution featuring historians and political scientists.
William Paterson University | www.wpunj.edu/adp
Our 8th annual public lecture for First Year Seminar students, all classes and the general public. Expert in the field delivers an address; a luncheon follows. Read more here. View William Paterson’s flyer here: William Paterson_Constitution Day Flyer
Winona State University
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will present “Helping to Move Democracy Forward” at 1 p.m. Ritchie will talk directly to students about doing their part for democracy and participating in the upcoming elections. A panel discussion on the importance of civic engagement will take place at 6 p.m. in the Student Activities Center, Kryzsko Commons. Participants will include students, faculty, and representatives from the League of Women Voters and WSU Student Life and Development. Read more here.
What goals and/or learning outcomes do you have for your planned Constitution Day programming?
- students gaining knowledge and efficacy related to their free speech rights on campus.
- Students have a much better understanding of the history, structure, and working of the electoral college.
- I hope students can walk away with a better understanding of how much the Constitution is still relevant in our lives today as well as the importance of voting.
- Participants will understand role of the electoral college in the elections process.
- Our goal is to increase awareness of the Constitution. We plan on surveying students pre and post the event to see if students realized the Constitution had a birthday.
- Generally we want Constitution Day programming to support our broader agenda of building students’ civic agency.
- PACE hopes to use Constitution Day as a means of taking a current issue and funneling it through a 225 year old living document. The Forum will consist of different view points, but will all be civilly discussed using the same baseline of the Constitution.
- Civic engagement is a central tenet of transformative learning at the University of Central Oklahoma: Develop civic skills; Practice civic responsibility; Describe the process of becoming a U.S. citizen (naturalization) by reading the Oath of Allegiance and observing the special naturalization ceremony; Discuss the notion of global citizenship.
- Information literacy; critical thinking
- Our main goal is to bring attention to our constitutional rights and freedoms that are often taken for granted through a theatrical and musical production
- 1. Educate campus and community about health care issues; 2. Make campus and community aware of contents of Constitution
- 1.) To provide students with the necessary resources to acknowledge the relevance of the U.S. Constitution today; 2.) To question what they know about the U.S. Constitution and encourage further research into U.S history; 3.) To understand what changes were made to the U.S. Constitution and the events that crated them.
- 1. voter education on critical issues; 2. voter education regarding the the new state voting laws; 3. surpassing the 2008 voter registration numbers
- to provide students and the public necessary tools to identify and analyze the constitutional elements and implications of contemporary public policy conflicts.
- Again to bring town and gown to understand democracy is a work in progress
- Conveying the value of multidisciplinary perspectives on Constitutional and Supreme Court Studies.
- Help students better understand context of Constitution.
- That students, faculty and the community will: understand the significance and importance of the US Constitution; gain an appreciation for the many liberties protected by the Constitution; understand the significance of the Constitution in terms of the protections it affords for meaningful democratic engagement.
- awareness of Bill of Rights and increase voter registration
- We obviously want to increase awareness of the Constitution and citizens’ civic duties. Additionally, we hope to foster critical thinking about the Constitution as a document written by humans and for humans which is not a foolproof, self-executing plan but contains some tensions which must be sorted through in practice.
- Educate students about the voting process including registration, polling locations and the documentation needed to cast a ballot.
Who on your campus is responsible for planning and implementing Constitution Day educational programs and events? What campus organizations/departments are involved or consulted?
- the ADP Steering Committee takes the lead with several academic departments contributing and supporting
- Democracy Plaza organization
- The Student Government Civic Engagement Director (me) and the Office of Service Learning. In addition to these organizations College Republicans and Democrats will also be involved.
- Co-coordinators of the American Democracy Project and the Political Engagement Project.
- Campus Civic Engagement Council is responsible.
- Institute for Civic Engagement working with the Political Science Dept.
- American Democracy Project Steering Committee, which is a partnership between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. We will collaborate with Student Veterans, History Department, Political Science Department.
- Office of Student Life, Student Government Association, Political Science Department
- There are a few organizations/departments involved in making this event happen. The Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement is the main host of the event; PACE has contacted speakers and coordinated with the departments around campus to make everything run smoothly. Departments that will have a small hand in it will be Catering, Support Services, Technical Services, and Publications. In order to make a memorable Constitution Day celebration it is essential to make every little detail work without a hitch.
- The American Democracy Project leadership team under the leadership of Provost William J. Radke and Academic Affairs is responsible for planning and implementing Constitution Day educational programs and events. We partner with Oklahoma Campus Compact, U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, Office of the President, University Relations, Student Affairs, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, Information Technology, the library, and Enrollment Management
- Chair of American Democracy Project/Provost’s Office, Working with League of Women Voters, Political Science, Student Government, Public Policy, History, Center for Multicultural Education, Communication Studies
- The Program in Public Affairs and the student government are working together on it.
- The primary responsibility rests with the ADP Committee. Several staff members from Enrollment Management & Student Affairs participate in the execution. Student government will also be involved in testing civics knowledge.
- The Office of Public Affairs Support ultimately is responsible for Constitution Day events. This office selects a student programming committee for our Public Affairs Week which is always held the week of Constitution Day. Constitution Day is built into the activities of this week long event.
- 1. ADP Committee and interns; 2. Political Science Department faculty members/students; 3. Political Science Student Association; 4. Office of the Provost; 5. Pre-Law Society students
- Dr. Lori Owens, Associate Professor and Department Chair in Political Science and Public Administration
- The Coordinator for Civic Engagement, Angie Hong, is responsible for planning and implementing Constitution Day educational programs and events. We often work with many other departments to coordinate events, including the Center for Student Diversity and Albert S. Cook Library.
- Several ADP Advisory Board members planned the event. Faculty in the colleges of Liberal Arts, Science & Technology, and Education & Human Services are involved in addition to several student organizations.
- Director of the American Democracy Project.
- ADP campus coordinator working with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs
- Greg Granger, Professor of History and Political Science, along with Bill Housel, Associate Professor of History and Charles Penrod, Associate Professor of Business.
- ADP co-chairs; Associate Provost; Dean of College of Arts & Sciences
- Our ADP takes the lead but several departments are consulted including Politics & Government, Communication, Criminal Justice Sciences, Theater, and others.
- Barbara Cosentino, Associate Director – Civic Engagement – offices that are involved include Student Affairs, Student Leadership Development and Student Government Association
- me, along with the American Democracy Project Committee, but in practice that means me and Associate Vice Chancellor Carleen VandeZande.
- The co-coordinators of ADP on-campus are responsible for planning all events with the assistance of a Graduate Assistant. We are supervised by the Provost’s office and sometimes consult with the Departments of History and Political Science.
What resources do you plan to use (campus, community, or national) for Constitution Day activities and events?
- WE are using mostly campus resources with a strong focus on student created programs.
- Undecided but definitely something related to registering students to vote (i.e. TurboVote).
- Campus: The event will be held on campus and will be attended by students; Community: Most of the free food will be donated by local food vendors.
- Campus and community.
- Resources used will involve campus and community efforts. PACE will plan with the different departments on campus and market the event on campus. Everyone from students to faculty will be involved. Local news stations will be present and have live coverage on the local stations. PAC 14 will be present as well as Delmarva Times.
- We rely on support from Academic Affairs, partnerships with Oklahoma Campus Compact and the U.S. Courts, Western District of Oklahoma, and the National Conference on Citizenship.
- Campus facilities, college President, USCIS Buffalo Field Office, US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman.
- Mainly campus resources
- 1. Constitution; 2. voter information; 3. Social media/campus vision/campus marketing
- We plan to use campus advertisement such as TV screens, newspaper ad, poster board, etc. to recognize Constitution Day on campus. We will also be reaching out to the Baltimore community during the black heritage tour, providing background information on amendments made to the constitution.
- The campus library is hosting the panel discussion. We will advertise in local media to encourage both university and community people to attend.
- Campus resources for advertising the event
- campus staff and “give away” constitutions provided by a national organization
- We have drawn on a nationally recognized speaker and are relying on a local member of Congress’ office for the pocket Constitutions.
- We plan to include student government leadership, the local legal community and faculty members in the forum.
Learn more about Constitution Day here.
National Voter Registration Day — a non-partisan effort — is September 25, 2012. Will your campus be participating?
Monday, August 20th is the last day campuses and organizations will be able to sign up for National Voter Registration Day to host an event and still receive free materials. There are 2 easy things you can do to make sure you and your partners receive free posters, stickers and a beginners guide to organizing:
1.) Create an event on the National Voter Registration Day website to let new volunteers, and people who would like to register on the 25th, know how to find you. Click here or follow the link to: http://events.nationalvoterregistrationday.org/Account/LogIn
2.) Spread the word to any of your affiliates, friends, or family that want to join the effort to register thousands of people on September 25th.
In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register.1 In 2012, we want to make sure no one is left out.
On September 25, 2012, volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from all over the country will “hit the streets” for National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated field, technology and media efforts will create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities–allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters or more who we could not reach otherwise.
What It Means
• Celebrities registering voters and generating buzz at surprise locations.
• Volunteers at transportation hubs, retail stores, sporting, and concerts.
• Technology to help eligible voters find registration drives nearby.
• A network of grassroots, local organizations engaged in their own communities.
• Tens of thousands of voters registering to vote online and offline in a single day.
What It Will Accomplish
• Register Voters: A network of a thousand organizations operating on the ground and through social media will register tens of thousands of voters in the field and tens of thousands more online–while also receiving pledges to vote from the already registered.
• Mobilize Volunteers: By engaging nonprofits not usually engaged in voter registration drives and amplifying existing drives through event-based recruitment and cultural outreach, National Voter Registration Day will bring thousands of additional volunteer voter registrars into the field just when we need them most.
• Educate Eligible Voters: Millions of voters need to register and re-register every year. By utilizing new technology and leveraging cultural partners, we’ll educate more Americans than ever before, bringing new voters into the fold.
• Change the Conversation: National Voter Registration Day will be an opportunity to put our differences aside and celebrate the rights that unite us as Americans.
National Voter Registration Day
National Voter Registration Day is managed by a working group of six organizations (APALA Education Fund | Bus Federation Civic Fund | Fair Elections Legal Network League of Women Voters | Nonprofit VOTE | Voto Latino). The project is fiscally sponsored by the Oregon Progress Forum (tax ID: 93-1314754), a 501(c)(3) public charity). Contributions may be sent to:
Oregon Progress Forum
333 SE 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97212