Brown Votes – Faculty Toolkit

Voting is one of the most fundamental features of a democracy. College-aged voters account for almost one-third of the eligible voting population, meaning their engagement holds significant power in shaping public policy.*

As educators, you are potent mentors and role models. Encouraging students and colleagues to engage in the democratic process is a non-partisan activity that aligns with the university’s mission. Brown University promotes civic engagement among students, including participating in elections and understanding the issues that affect them today and in the future.

*According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data in 2016.

KEY ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE

ADD KEY VOTING DATES TO YOUR SYLLABUS:

  • 9/20 – National Voter Registration Day
  • 10/13 – Reminder to mail absentee ballots
  • 11/8 – Election Day (No Classes)


EMBED ‘LIBRARY GUIDE TO VOTING’ ONTO YOUR COURSE CANVAS PAGE.
Find instructions on adding the library guide to your class Canvas page here

SEND CANVAS ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR KEY VOTING DATES.

ADDITIONAL INITIATIVES

INTEGRATE VOTING INTO YOUR CLASS: Show how legislative policies affect your subject area and how voting can influence this.

EMAIL SIGNATURE: Add voting information or messaging to your email signature. Share why you vote.

ADD ELECTION INFORMATION TO DEPARTMENTAL COMMUNICATIONS

SHARE BROWN VOTES SLIDES IN CLASS WITH YOUR STUDENTS

JOIN THE BROWN VOTES INITIATIVE

ADD KEY VOTING DATES TO YOUR SYLLABUS – highlight them in class

9/20 – National Voter Registration Day – Register if you haven’t already done so.  Review and update your registration information. Request an absentee/mail-in ballot. (Free stamps and envelopes are available at Mail Services and the Swearer Center) 

10/11 –  Last chance to request an absentee ballot – With the election only one month away, now is the time to request an absentee ballot if you haven’t done so.  State election laws vary; in RI, mail-in ballot requests must be received 21 days before the election. (Free stamps and envelopes are available at Mail Services and the Swearer Center) 

11/1 – Mail absentee ballot – Mail your ballot if you haven’t already done so!  Most states require that ballots be received by election day. (Free stamps and envelopes are available at Mail Services and the Swearer Center) 

11/8 – Election Day (No Classes) 


EMBED ‘BROWN LIBRARY GUIDE TO VOTING’ ONTO YOUR COURSE CANVAS PAGE

https://libguides.brown.edu/brownvotes.  You can find instructions on adding the library guide to your class Canvas page here – https://libguides.brown.edu/teaching/canvas.


SEND CANVAS ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR KEY VOTING DATES.

Try these sample messages as a Canvas announcement. Adjust the language to fit your message and class.

Samples:

As a student in this class, we expect each of you to apply your studies to action. One critical way to act is through voter participation — register, research your elections, make a plan to vote, and encourage your peers to turn out.

  • Register to vote & request your ballot by 9/20
  • Submit your ballot (if voting by mail) by 10/13
  • Turn out on Election Day on 11/8

brown.turbovote.org will guide you through the process. If you are not eligible to vote in US elections, mobilize three friends to vote. Elections affect all of us.

Key Voting Date Messaging:

National Voter Registration & Request Your Ballot Day — 9/20

Today is National Voter Registration & Request Your Ballot Day! Register to vote or update your registration. If you are registered to vote at home, request your absentee ballot today. If you plan to vote in person, add ‘vote at the polls’ to your calendar for 11/8 and invite three friends to join you. Brown.turbovote.org can guide you through the process.

10/11 Request your mail-in or absentee ballot

With the election only one month away,  now is the time to request an absentee ballot if you haven’t done so.  State election laws vary; in RI mail-in ballot requests must be received 21 days before the election.

11/1 – Mail Your Absentee ballot today!

Last chance to mail your ballot!  Most states require that ballots be received by election day.  

Election Day — 11/8

Today is Election Day! When and where are you voting? To find your RI polling location – click here.


INTEGRATE VOTING INFORMATION IN COURSES

Faculty members can encourage democratic participation by connecting public policy and elections to their course material or research.  Faculty members, particularly in fields that may seem distant from democratic engagement or have traditionally low student voter turnout, can make an immense difference by facilitating dialogue on this topic. For instance, professors in STEM fields can focus on the public challenges of climate change or engage in hack-a-thons around specific community problems. 

Here are some ideas for incorporating information about the importance of voting into the curriculum of various subjects or programming for your department.

  • Life Sciences: Hold a facilitated discussion on climate and energy. Educate students on how to communicate their research findings with elected officials.
  • Engineering: Discuss how local, state, or federal legislation affects research and development projects, funding, and subsidies for different kinds of technology. 
  • Social Sciences: Design an ethnography of nonvoters.
  • Computer Science: Design solutions to increase the usability of mail-in voting systems.
  • Statistics: Assign a problem set that analyzes voting power across different municipalities or states.
  • Health: Hypothesize the future of a specific health care issue, based on voting behavior.
  • Design: Redesign the voting booth or the voter registration form.
  • History & Law: Discuss voting enfranchisement over time.

EMAIL SIGNATURES 

Signal your commitment to voting in all your communications. Sample messages are included below:

  • Are you ready for November 11? Register to vote.
  • 2022 is an Election year. Every election matters. Sign up for Brown’s TurboVote. TurboVote helps you register, request an absentee ballot, if needed, and send timely reminders about election deadlines.  
  • Are you registered to vote? Do you need an absentee ballot? Use brown.turbovote.org.
  • 2022 is here. I’m voting! Do you know what’s on your ballot? Brown Library Guide for Voting has links to non-partisan voter guides that can help you be informed about your choices.
  • Be a voter. For more information on how you can engage, check out the Brown Library Guide for Voting
  • Brown’s Library Guide for Voting.
  • Education is preparing you to vote. Learn about issues that matter to you and vote for them. Brown’s Library Guide for Voting can help prepare you with the information you need to be an informed voter and support the democratic process.
  • Key voting dates: 9/20 National Voter Registration Day, 11/1 last day to mail absentee ballots, 11/8 Election Day (No Classes). More questions? Go to brownvotes.org
  • Register for TurboVote and never miss an election.
  • 2022 is here! Remember these key voting dates
  • I vote because: ___________.  I use TurboVote so I can keep up with all the deadlines.
  • Register. Engage. Vote.
  • Don’t just talk about change. Vote.
  • Today is Election Day! When and where are you voting? To find your RI polling location – click here

ADD ELECTION INFORMATION TO DEPARTMENTAL COMMUNICATIONS 

Using some of the language drafted above, you can add announcements on important dates and resources for voting to your department or DUG’s weekly newsletters!


SHARE BROWN VOTES SLIDES IN CLASS 

  • Turbovote Slides
  • Why I Vote Slide
  • Absentee Ballot/Logistical Slide for Closer to Election day

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES:

Host Events

  • Invite local elected officials to speak about your academic subjects’ relationship to public leadership.
  • Hold a “Why I Vote” event.
  • Collaborate with Brown Votes to host a registration event or integrate a voter engagement table into an existing gathering.


Be a Poll Worker
— Working at the polls is a great way to be involved in the democratic process and are desperately needed.  Anyone registered in Rhode Island can work as a poll worker. Brown University gives faculty, staff, and students federal election days off.  Working the polls is an excellent way to serve our community and help others vote.

Join Brown Votes

  • Interested in doing more? Join the Brown Votes team to help to increase democratic engagement and civic education at Brown. Contact us at brown_votes@brown.edu.

LINKS & RESOURCES

Brown Votes —Brown Votes is a non-partisan, campus-wide, collective impact initiative committed to preparing students with the skills and experiences necessary to become informed voters with a lifelong commitment to the habits of democracy.  The initiative is led by students, faculty, and staff, and supported by the Swearer Center.  Brown Votes works to streamline voter initiatives across Brown University by acting as a hub for resource-sharing, communication, and coordination. For more information, visit our website (brownvotes.org), Twitter (@Brown_Votes), Instagram (@BrownVotes), and Facebook (Brown Votes).

TurboVote — Brown partners with TurboVote to make sure you always know when elections are happening and have the information you need to vote with confidence. Sign up to receive election reminders, get registered to vote, and apply for your absentee ballot! – brown.turbovote.org

Library Resources –— As part of the Brown Votes initiative the Brown’s library has created a comprehensive resource guide on all things voting available for student and faculty use. It contains links to sites like TurboVote and specific resources on voting laws in Rhode Island, voter eligibility, information on being a poll worker, and much more. You can access the Brown Library Guide for Voting at libguides.brown.edu/BrownVotes.


Brown University’s Political Activity Policy – This University policy specifies permissions and restrictions for politically-related activity on campus by students and employees. The University supports campus-based activities and programs that enhance the individual capacity of faculty, staff and students to fulfill their rights. However, violation of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations could have serious ramifications for the University, including loss of its tax-exempt status.