To encourage University of Colorado Boulder undergraduates to cast their ballots this November, a team of University of Colorado Law School students will visit hundreds of classes virtually to instruct students how to register to vote and cast a ballot in Colorado.
This "Democracy in Action" initiative, spearheaded by the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law, is part of a campuswide effort to boost student participation in November’s election.
These efforts aim to increase voter turnout among college-aged youth. In 2016, just over half (55.7%) of eligible CU Boulder student voters cast a ballot, compared to 50.4% of their peers nationally.
“We are living in a historic moment. Scholars will study the political upheaval and social unrest of our era for decades, and now is not the time to sit idle on the sidelines. The public policy choices of our elected leaders over the next five to 10 years will have an enormous impact on the lives of our students, and they deserve to have a voice in those choices,” said Douglas Spencer, the White Center’s distinguished faculty fellow for 2020-21.
In addition to classroom outreach, Spencer will deliver educational programming for faculty who want to engage students in political conversations in the classroom. He and White Center Fellow and third-year law student Lindsey Floyd (‘21) will also contribute to the development of co-curricular programs for students who are voting for the first time.
"Our voting system is inaccessible for many. Although young voters have the power to sway elections, we are often intimidated by the needlessly complicated process. I hope this initiative will provide the resources to increase student registration and turnout,” Floyd said.
CU Boulder is participating in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a national, nonpartisan initiative supporting and recognizing colleges and universities for their commitment to helping students form the habits of active and informed citizenship and making democratic participation a core value on their campuses. More than 250 higher education institutions have signed on to the challenge, which aims to boost student engagement in the historic 2020 presidential election while injecting a sense of fun and friendly competition among campuses.
"COVID-19 has inspired us to ‘Protect the Herd,’ and we hope the 2020 election will inspire Buff nation to vote and be heard," Spencer said.