(Safe) Voter Registration at Campus COVID-19 Testing

Here’s a new way to help your students vote in the COVID era: Use QR codes and online links to direct them to online voter registration tools while waiting in line or signing up for campus COVID-19 testing. To download a PDF of this resources, click here

If your school is opening physically, you’re almost certainly testing your students for COVID, possibly repeatedly. And they’ll have to either sign up online or wait in line. So why not use that process to help them register, check registration, pledge to vote or request an absentee ballot? With COVID damping registration drives, you need to take every opportunity to help your students to vote. Hospital ER rooms are already promoting a similar approach. Integrating voter engagement in your COVID-testing could significantly increase student electoral participation, complementing the rest of your campus efforts.

Voter registration as part of COVID testing would not be physical. You’d use the same online approaches as when you register voters at orientation or while registering for classes.

To have students register while signing up for testing or filling out related online forms, you’d simply add a page containing CEEP’s link to our Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) online registration tools, perhaps as a final optional page to the sign-up process. You could also provide any other preferred link, like to your campus nonpartisan election site, or other online registration platforms. Students would register or request absentee ballots using their laptops or phones. Your CEEP state director can send you templates.

You can also use a QR code linked to these same voter registration tools, like the CEEP QR code. Blow it up into a poster or fliers and encourage students to scan in the code and fill out the forms on their phones while they wait. Post it on the wall. Add it to the consent forms students that fill out, or to the informational sheets you distribute. None of this introduces complication or risk for your personnel administrating the testing. It’s all on online.

Almost all the states CEEP works with have online registration. For those that don’t you can still use these same tools to send students an emailed PDF that they can print, sign, and return, so at least they’ll have started the registration process. If your schools do campus-wide testing, this would potentially reach all students physically present, including sophomores, juniors and seniors, who wouldn’t be included in voter registration at orientation.

Your campus health center is probably in charge of testing, perhaps in collaboration with your registrar’s office, student activities, and student life, so you’ll want to engage those stakeholders if possible. Your campus service-learning office could also have students pass on the idea to community groups they work with, to encourage community testing centers to do the same. You could also use the opportunity to distribute election-engagement materials like our nonpartisan candidate guides, or display them on the wall. But even if you just offered the chance to register or check registration, it would be a valuable opportunity.