Ohio State Again Designated a "Voter Friendly Campus"

March 17, 2021

The Ohio State University has again been designated a “Voter-Friendly Campus,” thanks to efforts by Student Life’s OSU Votes cohort.

The initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, recognizes institutions for planning and implementing practices that encourage students to register and vote.  

OSU Votes is a student organization supported by Ohio State’s Office of Student Life. In 2020, they facilitated more than 50 workshops, reaching 3,500 students with information on how to register to vote, update their voter address and request absentee ballots. OSU Votes continues to offer workshops upon request. In addition, the group partnered with the Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) to provide free transportation for students to Franklin County’s early voting site.

“OSU Votes is proud of the work done around the 2020 election,” said their advisor, Alyssa (AJ) Johnson of Student Life's Student Activities department. “We wouldn't be able to fulfill our mission if it were not for the entire campus helping us bring voter resources and information to all students, from academic entities that requested workshops to Athletics bringing our group in to speak with student athletes. The work of OSU Votes is at true collaboration and we owe our success to all of our campus partners.”

This is the third consecutive time Ohio State has been designated a “Voter-Friendly Campus.” The 2021-2022 award says, “Your institution’s efforts, despite great challenges presented by COVID-19, to break down barriers and empower students with the information and tools they need to participate in the political process, led to historic youth voter turnout and opened the door to lifelong civic engagement for your students.” 

The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Participating schools including The Ohio State University were evaluated based on campus plans to engage student voters, facilitate democratic engagement efforts and a final analysis of the efforts.

 “This year brought incredible challenges to the many professionals on campuses who are dedicated to encouraging and increasing student civic engagement,” said NASPA President Kevin Kruger. “The completion of the Voter Friendly Campus designation process speaks to the unwavering commitment of campus administrators who ensure students are educated about, have access to, and ultimately are empowered to have their voices heard in the democratic process.”

Noting that 52 percent-55 percent of voting-eligible young people, ages 18-29, cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election, Campus Vote Project National Director Mike Burns said, ““We saw the highest turnout ever for an election in this country in 2020, in spite of unprecedented obstacles from the global pandemic, a mix of remote and hybrid learning across campuses, along with the most election law changes across the country in a six month period in my lifetime, all at a time of extreme political polarization and social unrest. Through the Voter Friendly Campus program we know that hundreds of colleges and universities were crucial in making sure that millions of student voters had the nonpartisan information and support they need to navigate these changes and successfully have their voices heard up and down the ballot.”