Why a Voter Registration Challenge?

NASPAA is excited to announce that we are embarking on a Civic Engagement Initiative that will start with a Voter Registration Challenge!

As many of our members who are located within the United States know, there is an upcoming midterm election that has the potential for major impacts/ implications on governance in the United States. 2018 primaries will include candidate nominations for 34 U.S. Senate seats, all 435 U.S. Representative seats, plus governors, other statewide officials, and state legislative seats.

As a membership organization of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, we feel strongly about the idea of good public governance and our student’s and alumni’s participation in it.   One of the five universal competencies NASPAA believes all graduates should have upon obtaining an MPA/MPP degree is “to participate in and contribute to the policy process”.   What better way for our students to participate in the policy process than to vote and make their voices heard?

Voter Participation is low overall in the United States, particularly so during the Mid-term elections. As you can see in this infographic only 30.5% of all public administration students voted in the 2014 midterms, 36.3% when only accounting for graduate students (per NSLVE data). This is abysmally low and something we can and should strive to change.

Therefore, NASPAA is launching a Voter Registration Challenge asking our schools to challenge 90% of their eligible students to register to vote! We know this is ambitious, but we want to be ambitious. Our graduates are those who should be leading the charge in civic engagement and the best way they can do so is by leading by example. We hope each of our member schools located within the U.S. feels the same way.

For those NASPAA members in locations outside the US and those who may be in Auto-Registration states, there will be additional opportunities to participate in NASPAA’s Civic Engagement Initiative.

The next steps of the Civic Engagement Initiative will focus on providing opportunities for our students to engage with data and policies that are real world relevant, and to use the skills and knowledge they are obtaining, to make a positive impact on their communities and the public at large.

Keep on the lookout for further information shortly!