The 8th annual NC College Voter Summit brought together 100 students, staff, and faculty from across North Carolina for a day of motivation, education, and preparation for the upcoming election season. Held on September 22 at Elon University, the Summit saw 21 colleges/universities and 13 democracy organizations from across North Carolina represented. It was an eventful day of workshops, games, and activities that got Summit participants ready to mobilize students on their campus to vote!
Check out the recap video below!
We kicked off the Summit with a presentation on the newest changes to NC voting and election laws. Students, staff, and faculty alike were closely tuned in as our guest speaker, Paul Cox (General Counsel, NC State Board of Elections), reviewed the most pressing updates to NC voter ID laws, explained the new voting omnibus bill (Senate Bill 747) and helped the audience understand what they need to do to prepare students for the upcoming changes.
This year, attendees got to choose between nine workshops hosted by North Carolina democracy organizations. The 2023 workshops are listed below:
- The Art of Telling Stories through Activism – NC Black Alliance
- Voter ID Essentials – VoteRiders
- Standing up for Democracy while Staying Nonpartisan – the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition
- Building Effective and Strategic GOTV Campaigns in NC – NC Conservation Network
- Streamlining Campus Event Planning – Campus Vote Project
- School Boards 101 – Equality NC
- NC Student Empowerment 101 – You Can Vote
- Campus Playbook Deep-Dive – You Can Vote
- Tools & Tips for Organizing your Peers Online – NCPIRG Students
After two workshop sessions, student leaders gathered in small groups to work together to develop creative solutions and ideas to build their campus voting action plans. After, discussion leaders made their way to the podium and shared their new-found insights with the full group. Some discussion points included:
- Building creative partnerships and networks on campus
- Understanding resource gaps (diversity, funding, know-how, etc.) that exist in current voter engagement networks
- Methods for adapting common student mobilization strategies to different campus contexts and cultures (community colleges, rural universities, HBCUs, commuter schools, etc.)
- Analyzing why successful engagement strategies have worked in the past, and how these lessons can be applied to future strategies
Prizes, Games, and Awards
Campuses jumped at the chance for some friendly competition!
The Summit started out with a tough pop-quiz—so tough that not a single person in the room got every question right. Questions for the pop-quiz were taken directly from the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test. Tests like these were frequently given out at the discretion of poll workers. If the poll worker was suspicious of the prospective voter, they could give out one of these tests to check their knowledge. Needless to say, this put people of color, people from low-income backgrounds, and people without access to education at a severe disadvantage and harshly limited their voting access.
Curious if you would pass the test? You can find the questions here.
Over the course of the day, students got to mix and mingle by filling out every square on their bingo card. At lunch, campuses revived their competitive spirits during a game of trivia.
Davidson-Davie Community College brought home the Attendance Prize for having the most student representatives at the Summit! For their great turnout, they received two free registrations to be used at the 2024 NC College Voter Summit.
One campus from each sector was selected for the Spirit Prize based on their energy, enthusiasm, and campus pride. Congratulations to the 2023 winning campuses!
4-year Public – Elizabeth City State University
4-year Private – Saint Augustine’s University
2-year – Davidson-Davie Community College
NC Campus Voting Coalition partners showed up with an exciting collection of door prizes, raffle items, and swag that was given out throughout the day. Prize winners walked away with tote bags, posters, wall signs, gift cards, stickers, buttons, and specialty shirts!
Thank you to Elon University and all the folks here who supported the Summit, including catering, Event and Space Management, and the McCoy Commons staff. We also want to acknowledge our photographer, Joseph Navin.
Extra special thanks to the 2023 Summit Planning Team!
NC Campus Engagement – Leslie Garvin & Samantha Delap
Campus Vote Project – Amanda LaRoche
Equality NC – Brennan Lewis & Rebby Kern
Common Cause NC – Vashti Hinton
NCPIRG Students – Katie Craig
Civic Influencers – Anna Cubbage
You Can Vote – Kate Fellman
ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge – Olivia Antigua