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Resources for Faculty

Since 2011, NU Votes has been driving a sea change in campus voting culture. Through high-touch voter services, NU Votes consistently increases registration rates among incoming students from under 40% to over 90% of eligible voters. But in order to reach returning students and create lifelong habits of voter participation among all students, we need help from faculty:

  • While there are structural barriers to student voting, many students fail to vote for lack of basic information or support with simple steps like printing and mailing. Students benefit from concrete guidance about the ‘how, where, and when’ of voting.
  • Research shows that voter outreach from a personal contact is more effective than outreach from a stranger, especially for young people. Personal contact from trusted community members like you will increase student voting rates.
  • A significant influence on voting behavior is the perception of community norms around voting. Faculty play a leading role in setting the norms of our campus culture. Please join us in cultivating a commitment to active citizenship! Here’s how you can help:


  • Add NU Votes’ Voter Services page to your courses in Canvas. In one page, we offer some voter education basics, then connect students with a simple online tool they can use to prepare to vote – register, check or update their  registration, request a vote-by-mail ballot, and/or access printing and mailing services, as needed. (Note that our tool is inclusive of and offers resources for students ineligible to vote as well.)
    • To import this page into your courses, complete this simple email request form. You will receive a notification in Canvas when we have shared it with you. Go to Shared Content > Actions > Import.
    • OR Download the course package, then import it into your course site following these steps:
      • From your course Home page, click Import Existing Content in the righthand toolbar. Under Content Type, select Canvas Course Export Package. Browse and select the file from your downloads, and click Open. Click Select Specific Content, then click Import. Once the import is complete, look under Current Jobs and click Select Content. Choose Page (or Module, depending on how you have your course set up), Files (important for the images to appear within the page), and Calendar Events (if desired – see below). Then click Select Content.
    • Choose where you want the page (or module) to appear within your course.
    • Repeat these steps for each course.
  • Dedicate 10 minutes of a class period for students to register, check or update their registration, or request a vote-by-mail ballot using NU Votes’ Canvas page or online tools. (Research shows that classroom registration drives work!)
  • Consider using class time to help students connect your discipline or course content to political issues and legislation. Students are more likely to vote if they understand the relationship of elections to their everyday lives. See the Resources section below for guidance and ideas.

During Election Seasons

  • Invite an NU Votes Ambassador (our peer educators) into your classes to make an announcement about the election or give a voter education presentation. Complete this simple email request form to request an in-person or virtual visit.
  • Share information about NU Votes’ voter services, including our online tools, help with printing and mailing, 1-on-1 support via email, text, and Zoom, and in-person Voter Services Stations.
  • Add key voting dates to your syllabi and send reminders through Canvas. (If you import the NU Votes Voter Services page into your course, these dates will appear in the course calendar.) In Fall 2022, you might include:
    National Voter Registration Day: Tuesday, September 20
    National Voter Education Week: Monday, October 3 – Friday, October 7
    National Vote Early Day: Friday, October 28
    Election Day: Tuesday, November 8
  • Consider scheduling classes, assignments, and exams so that they don’t fall on Election Day. This will also allow students to serve as poll workers.
  • Encourage students to watch a debate or attend an election-related event. NU Votes lists upcoming election-related events on campus on our website at nuvotes.org.
  • Ask students to make and share a simple voting plan. Research shows that voters prompted to set a time to vote, locate their polling place, and identify how they’ll get there are more likely to actually vote.
  • Introduce students to resources like BallotReady or Ballotpedia where they can study their ballot in advance of stepping into the voting booth.
  • Add a voting reminder to your email signature.
    Dr. Ruth Curry
    Center for Civic Engagement
    Vote! NUVotes.org
  • To include students ineligible to vote in any of these activities, check out our resources and ideas for civic engagement beyond voting.


Please note: The information here was compiled from publicly available sources in an effort to help provide students with non-partisan information that they may need to know in order to register correctly and vote in upcoming elections. Northwestern University does not endorse or oppose any candidate or organization in connection with this or any other political campaign or election. Students are responsible for working with their own local election officials to ensure their own correct registration and to verify local laws and policies about voting in their respective districts.