Support For Student Voting at UW Madison

Voting can be a confusing process for students. Here’s how UW–Madison helps educate students about exercising their right to vote.

  • Voting-compliant ID: Most students have a driver’s license or other ID for voting. For those who don’t, the university offers a free voting compliant ID during student orientation and through the Wiscard office. A second distribution site will be open on election day at Memorial Union in August and Gordon Dining and Event Center in November.
  • Education/communications: Ongoing promotion of hub for voting info); animated short videos promoting registration, voting readiness, early voting and what to do on Election Day; mass emails to students; digital signs on computer kiosks and dining/residence hall monitors; earned media on and off campus.
  • Voter registration/early voting: The university provides space to the City Clerk at Union South and the Student Activity Center for on-campus early voting and voter registration.
  • Wayfinding on Election Day: Signs in residence halls with directions to polling place; signs in off-campus polling places directing to Voter ID issuance locations; “What to do on Election Day” animated short; social media messaging: “#BadgersVote based on where they live”; social media monitoring and troubleshooting.

The August 14 primary takes place when many students will not yet have established residency for voting purposes at their 2018–19 academic year addresses. Per the advice of city and county clerks and an attorney with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, before the end of the spring semester we began messaging to students (via mass email, social media and residence hall message boards) that they could request absentee ballots immediately using their 2017–18 academic year address.


Big Ten Voting Challenge

UW–Madison is competing against its Big Ten peers in a competition to see which university has the highest student voter turnout in November as well as which sees the most improvement in turnout. Chancellor Blank has committed $10,000 to support this effort, which is being organized by the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

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