Binghamton University joins campuses nationwide in effort to be “voter friendly”

Campus has been designated a Voter Friendly Campus for the second time

Binghamton University students cast their ballots at a voting poll located at Old Union Hall in the University Union on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.
Binghamton University students cast their ballots at a voting poll located at Old Union Hall in the University Union on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.
Binghamton University students cast their ballots at a voting poll located at Old Union Hall in the University Union on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Photography: Jonathan Cohen.

Binghamton University has been designated a “Voter Friendly Campus” for the second time, maintaining the designation since the process began in 2016. The initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, holds participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote.

The designation bolsters efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Campuses were evaluated based on the development and execution of a comprehensive plan for voter registration, education, turnout and other efforts to enhance student democratic participation. The designation is valid through December 2020. The institutions designated as Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses.

Binghamton University’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) led the designation application effort. In collaboration with a coalition of students, staff, faculty and community members, the CCE facilitated registration of more than 2,000 student voters during the 2018 calendar year and assisted more than 750 students with filling out absentee ballot applications. Of the students who were registered with their on-campus address, 67 percent turned out for the November 2018 midterm election — 1,100 more students than turned out for the 2014 midterm election. 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 University is committed to fostering a culture of civic engagement and supporting students in their development as active, engaged citizens,” said Alison Handy Twang, CCE associate director. “We are honored to receive this designation, which recognizes the success of our institution-wide work to reduce voting barriers and increase student voter turnout. Through the efforts of a collaborative team of students, faculty, staff and community partners, voter engagement was a visible feature of the campus landscape throughout the 2018 midterm election season. We look forward to continuing to implement innovative programs and resources to support student democratic participation on Election Day and beyond.”

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 (AGF) through its Vote Everywhere program, which has funded 11 student Vote Everywhere Ambassadors on campus since 2014. Recently, AGF visited the Binghamton University campus to recognize the institution’s political engagement efforts and meet with senior University administrators, CCE staff and student Vote Everywhere Ambassadors.

For more information, contact Handy Twang in the Center for Civic Engagement at atwang@binghamton.edu or 607-777-4287.

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