UNC Asheville has been designated a Voter Friendly Campus 2021-22 for the University’s work in registering, educating, and turning out student voters in 2020. This year’s designation recognizes the campus’ voter engagement efforts in the face of a global pandemic. This is the second consecutive year UNC Asheville has been named a Voter Friendly Campus.
The Voter Friendly Campus initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote in 2020 elections and in the coming years.
UNC Asheville’s voter engagement and education efforts included:
- UNCA Votes: a new website at vote.unca.edu that offered comprehensive information about registering, sample ballots, ways to vote both on and off campus, fact-checking and more.
- National Voter Registration Day: UNC Asheville students tabled—with free pizza—across campus to help students register to vote, update voter registration, or answer any questions about voting in the 2020 election.
- Class Visits: UNC Asheville students visited nearly 100 classes, clubs, organizations and University departments to talk about the importance of voting, demystifying voter registration, and actually walk through the process of registering to vote with students.
- Early Voting Site: UNC Asheville’s campus was the location of a Buncombe County Early Voting Site, where voters from anywhere in Buncombe County could register and cast their ballot.
- Party to the Polls: The Political Science Club kicked off the final week of Early Voting with free pizza, voting stickers, election swag, and non-partisan candidate information.
- Voter Protection: Students received training and a grant through Democracy NC and trained and recruited other students to engage in voter protection work at local polling sites. These students were praised by county officials for their work.
- Shuttles, Stickers and Stamps: Free shuttles to the polls were offered to students, as well as stamps to students who were casting absentee ballots. Stickers with the UNC Asheville Rocky mascot wearing a mask and casting a ballot helped generate engagement and excitement around safely voting.
The Voter Friendly Campus designation builds on a history of student civic engagement at UNC Asheville. In 2018 UNC Asheville received a Gold Medal from the All-In Campus Democracy Challenge for voter turnout rates that year. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement at Tuft’s University, 75% of UNC Asheville’s student body was registered to vote in 2018, surpassing the national average, and voter turnout at UNC Asheville was 4.1% higher than the national average at 43.2% in the 2018 midterm election. The University has also garnered a number of grants, mini-grants and student fellowships for election engagement work.
Visit vote.unca.edu to learn more.