The City University of New York's Project Vote exemplifies our long-standing commitment to promoting voter participation. With voter registration efforts coordinated out of the Office of University Relations and encompassing 19 campuses, the project is responsible for registering more voters than any other City agency (approximately 60% of new registrants in recent years). In addition to distributing 180,000 voter registration forms, (available in English, Chinese and Spanish) throughout the year (360,000 during a presidential election year), the Office of City Relations helps create, design and distribute voter registration posters, brochures and pens.
The success of the project can be attributed to the emphasis placed on voter registration by the Chancellery and the college presidents (each president appoints a campus coordinator) as well as to the thoroughness in which voter registration and education materials are posted and disseminated. For example, in addition to distributing forms during course registration, the campus coordinators capitalize on or create other opportunities such as student-focused forums at which voter registration/education materials are discussed and disseminated. Other venues used by coordinators to promote voter participation include: student newspapers/publications, new student orientations, summer skills immersion programs, assessment test sites, bookstores, cafeterias, student life offices, student mailings, student media outlets, bulletin boards and tutoring centers. In short, voter registration is an integral part of CUNY's culture.
Another example of how the Office of University Relations works jointly with the campus coordinators to maintain Project Vote as a national model is to hold coordinators' meetings, during which creative ideas are exchanged regarding campus efforts to maximize registration/education opportunities. Moreover, the Office of City Relations works closely with college coordinators and the CUNY Office of Legal Affairs to ensure that campus voter registration plans are in compliance with State election law before their collective annual submission to the New York State Board of Elections.
Finally, The City University combines Project Vote with a poll-worker initiative (a collaboration with the New York City Board of Elections that has recruited and trained over 2,000 students) and the CUNY Citizenship & Immigration Project, which provides---at no cost--- our colleges and surrounding communities with comprehensive and confidential legal counseling, information and forms related to naturalization and other immigration issues.