Over 40 education and civil rights groups are offering recommendations to the Department of Education for increasing voter registration and participation on campuses as it develops a strategic plan in response to a March executive order from President Biden.
The four recommendations are:
- Include a “check-the-box” automatic voter registration option after students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
- Use the Office of Federal Student Aid’s email addresses on file to make students aware of vote-by-mail opportunities or to send vote-by-mail applications, while also conducting a vote-by-mail social media campaign.
- Issue subregulatory guidance clarifying that Federal Work-Study community service activities can include voter registration, nonpartisan voter education and nonpartisan voter participation work.
- Regulate the “time and manner” in which voter registration information is provided to students so that they are most likely to pay attention, such as during enrollment activities like course registration or applying for a student identification card.
“At a time that many are working to suppress ballot access for voters, particularly voters of color, we are committed to ensuring that all voters have the tools and knowledge to ensure their ballots are cast and counted,” the groups wrote.
Education Reform Now took the lead on organzing and drafting the letter. Among the organizations signing it are the National Education Association, Education Trust, the Institute for College Access and Success, the New America Higher Education Program, and Third Way.