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U.S. Department of Education Releases Voter Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released a “Toolkit for the Promotion of Voter Participation for Students” to provide resources for educational institutions to help them identify and implement actions to assist eligible students with voter registration and voting. Recognizing that our nation’s schools, colleges, and universities have a critical role in promoting civic engagement, the toolkit will provide them with strategies to support their students. 

“Voting is fundamental to our democracy, and our schools and colleges play an important role in helping our students become active participants in our democratic society,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “From providing civic education during a student’s elementary and secondary school years to facilitating the voting process for all students during their postsecondary educational experience, our education system helps students engage in the electoral process. I’m proud that the resources we are releasing today will help reduce the barriers and obstacles many students—especially our underserved students—face in participating fully in our democracy.”  

The toolkit includes explanations of current legal requirements for schools, recommendations for non-partisan steps they can take to expand voter participation across their student bodies, federal resources they can utilize and share to support voters in their communities, and examples from the field with effective and promising strategies from schools across the nation. 

In March 2021, President Biden issued an executive order, “Promoting Access to Voting,” which called on federal agencies to consider ways to expand opportunities for all Americans to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process. 

Since then, the Department has taken several steps to expand voting access for all students, including adding a link to vote.gov on the Federal Student Aid website to make information about voting more accessible to college students; issuing a Dear Colleague Letter to remind institutions of higher education of the federal requirements regarding voting that are tied to participation in federal student aid programs; and clarifying when Federal Work Study dollars could be used for nonpartisan civic engagement work. 

Again, the toolkit is available online.