2008 Election Engagement - Florida Campus Successes
Florida worked with varied members statewide, but also developed the idea of holding competitions between schools. They held a video contest on the best ways to encourage voter turnout, and another called the Democracy Cup, which gave cash awards for the best campus engagement projects, statewide. The University of Miami students won for registering 14,000 voters, 10,000 of them through off-campus registration drives. They brought in guest speakers, sponsored debates with representatives of the local campaigns, held a “Dialogue for Democracy” hosted by James Carville and Mary Matalin, and had shuttles to the polls. At the runner up campus, Florida State University, students formed a flash mob, gathering in the student union with t-shirts promoting the voting date and slogans like “I vote for education” or “I vote for health care.” They froze for five minutes to let the crowd look at them. Then they moved on, did the same thing elsewhere on the campus, and repeated it again. Their effort was a smash success. Florida Compact also encouraged and supported other creative ideas, from voter registration “dorm storms” to an “Art the Vote” effort where students displayed “Canvasses for Change” in the campus gallery of the Ringling School of Art. Because of the state’s history of voter disenfranchisement, they put significant effort into passing on key information on voting rules, like how students needed to bring student ID cards if voting in a county different from their driver’s license.