Changing legislation is accompanied by growing interest in the convenience of voting on campus.
In 2013, when Illinois law called for four-year public universities to host early voting centers, staff at The University of Illinois at Chicago recognized an opportunity to boost students’ civic engagement.
Making campus voter-friendly: A number of groups, such as the Fair Elections Group, banded together for the UIC Votes initiative to make the university a voter-friendly campus. UIC Votes hosts civic educational initiatives, such as debate watch parties, forums and live candidate debates.
LINK TO MAIN ARTICLE: Removing ballot bumps on college campuses
“We want to make voting part of our culture, and a part of being a student here,” says Spencer Long, associate director of UIC’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement.
Facility logistics: UIC facilities staff provide election officials with a large room in the student center, which is outfitted with enough outlets for electronic ballot machines. The building’s high traffic is a plus as it gives the site exposure, says Long.
Before the vote: Students are encouraged to register via a nonpartisan online platform called TurboVote, which also sends them reminders about upcoming elections.