Students Use Text Messaging to Encourage Voter Registration
The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is the country’s oldest and largest non-partisan youth voter mobilization campaign. Over the past twenty-five years, they’ve run massive voter registration and get out the vote drives that have turned out millions of young people to vote.
For 2008, the New Voters Project added a set of tech tools to complement its traditional tactics – including a fresh new website, a Facebook application, and a cutting-edge voter registration widget. In addition, they wanted to find ways to utilize text messaging. Their audience – college students – texts each other all the time and it seemed like there should be ways to put this to use to help promote voting.
They chose to use TextMarks as a way to get the word out, because “it was an easy way to quickly take advantage of texting tools.”
When students text STUDENTVOTE to 41411, they get back a reply that says “Register to vote at www.StudentVote.org. Make sure to forward this to 10 of your friends!”
Students on over 100 colleges have been plastering campuses with signs that say “text studentvote to 41411.” In addition, students have been taking a more active approach to promoting the service, by stopping students on campus and asking them to send the text right there. When they get back the automatic reply, they’re then asked to immediately forward the message to at least ten of their friends.
So far, nearly 3000 students have used the service, and they’ve forwarded the studentvote message on to over 20,000 of their friends. It’s proved to be a fun and effective way to promote voter registration and spread the word about the campaign.
For more information about the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project, visit www.NewVotersProject.org.