PARADE TO THE POLLS

A parade to the polls can build a sense of school pride as well as civic engagement. At some schools the parade is led by the college or university president, the student government president or student veterans. Involving a campus influencer like this can help increase engagement and turnout.

  • A parade works best where there is a polling place or early vote location on campus or within safe walking distance.
  • Before announcing the parade to the public, be sure to walk the proposed route with your team to identify any hazards, such as highways, train tracks or broken sidewalks.
  • If you intend to walk in the street, be sure to get the proper documents ahead of time. Most local governments require a permit to hold a parade in the street. Otherwise, make sure participants know they must stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Make sure people are prepared. Many states require some form of ID or proof of residency in order to vote. Ask everyone to check their voter registration beforehand, or help them along the way.
  • Notify local election officials of the date and time of your event and how many people you expect to attend. This way they can be prepared for a heavy influx of voters.
  • Make it fun! Come up with chants about voting or your school. Fight songs and sports chants are encouraged.
  • Take advantage of the time. Use your training on productive conversations to talk with voters. For any voters who might still be undecided, share the relevant nonpartisan candidate guides from CEEP.

Hold get-out-the-vote rallies and parties on Election Day:

  • Plan for entertainment and snacks near the polling places while students wait in line or wait for their friends to make it through.
  • Organize election night parties to watch returns in student unions, dormitories, fraternities, sororities, coffee shops, restaurants and other places where students gather.
  • Distribute a list of community parties around town so students can join those who’ve volunteered on the campaigns.

Students from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina show their school spirit by parading to the polls.