Unfortunately there have been numerous reports nationally about students being prevented from voting today.
Some pretty serious problems of students being turned away from the polls at George Mason University because their registration changes may not have been properly processed. And they didn’t even give them provisional ballots. After reporting to 866-ourvote, they’re now at least handing out provisional ballots and senior GMU administrators are now talking with the Fairfax County election board.
Similar voter suppression issues are arising elsewhere as well, for instance many Pennsylvania poll workers wrongly demanding ID despite the state’s voter ID law being blocked by a judge. So we’re hoping you can pro-actively call your key campus contacts one more time to make sure that not only are they doing their final GOTV push, but that they’re also monitoring what’s happening on the ground, helping students navigate any hurdles, and reporting any problems.
The 866-ourvote number is, as mentioned, the critical resource in that they have lawyers on call who can walk students through any problems, talk with resistant poll workers, and help them defend their rights. They’re also keeping a log of incidents and reporting them to the media in real time. The hotline had over 40,000 calls as of 10:00 AM EST. So we want to make sure students are using it if they run into individual problems, and schools are calling in to report systematic problems.
Please stay vigilant.
Great ideas for the final week: During these critical last few days before the election, make sure to take another look at the high-visibility voter education and turnout suggestions from our 33 Things You Can Still Do to Engage Students in the Election. Ideally, the things you do will complement each other: Campus IT department will send out notices, student groups will canvass the dorms and do visibility actions, student newspapers will highlight the issues, and faculty will push the election in their classes.
CEEP nonpartisan voting guides: Another great thing you can do to involve students in the election is to emphasize our nonpartisan voting guides and make sure schools have received and disseminated them: the Presidential Voter Guide in all the states, the Senate and House ones where we’ve created them. (That includes the Senate races in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, and the House races in New York’s 18th, 24th and 27th districts, Ohio’s 16th, Colorado’s 6th, Nevada’s 3rd, Florida’s 18th, Michigan’s 1st and 11th, North Carolina’s 7th and Pennsylvania’s 12th. Let us know if you’re working in those areas but haven’t gotten the guides yet.) Encourage schools to get them out every way they can, from now right up until Election Day. The schools we’ve talked to and visited in the past two weeks find these guides immensely valuable precisely because large numbers of students really don’t know where the candidates stand. Get faculty and residence life to distribute them, get student newspapers to reprint them or draw on the guides’ info for their own stories, and get student government or student affairs to work with campus IT departments to email the guides out to all the students on campus, as many schools where Paul has been speaking have done. It’s not at all too late to do this, and it can make a huge difference.
We’ve been happy to get all the reports coming in and seeing all the great projects in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Wyoming!! Please keep sending photos and reports – this is the final week and its just as important as any other week right on through the election!
Here is a very brief summary of the Mini-Grants we awarded for the 2012 Election season! Thank you all so much for your submissions and posting here and on our Facebook page about your progress…
Its been a long, rough but fun election season for our staff! The CV2012 team traveled all over Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada searching high and low for campuses doing great work to award funds to!
Please keep us informed of your progress as we continue to march toward the polls!
One heck of a whirlwind these last couple of weeks looking for new campuses for our second round of mini-grants (last week in New Mexico)!
After 3 hours of day light in Reno it was on to Las Vegas to meet up with some students and staff at UNLV.
Hitting the road in Nevada for the second time since summer made us feel like we were campaigning! This was our first time visiting the University of Nevada – Reno – and surprise, surprise to get off the plane and find “Welcome Cowboys” signs everywhere as the U Wyoming Cowboys were on the menu for the coming weekend’s football game!
This is where the real Nevada action is – The UN-R campus was just a wonderful buzz of energy – we even got approached by Voter Registration volunteers! It was truly exciting to arrive as we had just left the campus of the Truckee Community College where we had a brief but wonderful meeting with the campus student government engagement staffer who sent us to UN-R with Sandy Rodriguez’s name….if you’re ever in Reno and see engagement operate like a well oiled machine, stop by UN-R and have a chat with Sandy and just see if you’re jaw doesn’t drop 10 times a second!
Now that we’ve launched the second round of mini-grants, it’s time to hit the road to recruit more applications. We headed out to New Mexico (the Land of Enchantment), to see if we could get some authentic Southwest flavor in the election mix.
A challenging environment in Albuquerque – it was mid-day on a Friday when we arrived – sent us to the campuses of St. John’s College and Santa Fe Community College. At SFCC we met with faculty and staff in the film and media department who were excited at the prospect of joining in the election project – we’re really amped to see what they submit in their proposal. Coincidentally, on our way back to the car, we overheard some guys working on rhyming lyrics and beat-boxing. Walking over and making a short introduction gained a short audience with rapper Arthur, a student in the school’s film program…we really hope to get an election music video submission from Arthur and his gang!
Mitt Romney remains close in most swing states, though durable polling deficits in Ohio and Virginia are enough to trouble even the sleep of the just. President Obama’s job approval remains in the re-election danger zone, the economy stubbornly refuses to rally and the Middle East has chosen an inconvenient time (from the president’s perspective) to combust. A sharpened Romney message, a serious Obama stumble, a decisive debate outcome could turn the conventional wisdom — so uniform, so fragile — overnight.
New Mexico has the largest proportion of Hispanic voters in the country — over 40 percent — as well as the nation’s highest percentage below the poverty line. Yet President George W. Bush won New Mexico (barely) in 2004 — one of two states that flipped from the Democratic to the Republican column. Now Romney is not close to competing.