Binghamton University recognized as "Voter-Friendly Campus"
BINGHAMTON, NY – Binghamton University is now one of 83 campuses in 23 states designated as a "Voter-Friendly Campus." The initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encouraged their students to register and vote in the 2016 general election and in the coming years.
Binghamton University’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) led the designation application effort, forming a Political Engagement Advisory Committee of students, staff, faculty and community members that facilitated the registration of nearly 2,500 student voters during the 2016 calendar year and assisted almost 350 students with filling out absentee ballot applications. Of the students who were registered with their on-campus address, 84 percent turned out on Election Day in November 2016 — 900 more students than turned out in 2012. In addition to voter registration efforts, the CCE provided students with non-partisan information regarding registration and voting deadlines; polling place locations and access; and local, state and federal candidate platforms on issues identified as high priority by students.
"Binghamton is committed to supporting student democratic participation and the development of students as active, engaged citizens," said Alison Handy Twang, assistant director at the CCE. "This designation is a recognition of significant institutional efforts to reduce voting barriers for students and would not have been possible without widespread campus and community support. Voting is an important act of citizenship, and Binghamton is committed to continuing to encourage student participation in local, state and federal elections, as well as providing resources for students to remain civically engaged in a variety of ways."
The CCE also developed and expanded institution-wide initiatives to streamline and improve ballot access for students. The University provided an opportunity for all incoming freshmen to register to vote at new student orientation. The CCE worked with the Broome County Board of Elections (BOE) to develop a prepopulated voter registration form for students who registered with their on-campus address, and a change of address form for students previously registered in Broome County who had moved within the county since registering.
Additionally, the CCE and BOE redesigned the physical layout of the on-campus polling location to minimize waiting times for students. Much of Binghamton University’s success in reducing barriers to student voting is a direct result of a strong relationship with the Andrew Goodman Foundation through the Vote Everywhere movement.
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Campuses were evaluated based on a campus plan detailing how they would engage student voters in the fall of 2016, how they facilitated voter engagement efforts on campus, and a final analysis of their efforts following the election. The designation is valid through December 2018.
The institutions designated as Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses, with a total enrollment of nearly 1.4 million students.