HOW TO DISTRIBUTE CEEP’S NON-PARTISAN CANDIDATE GUIDES AND WHY THEY MATTER
When students don’t vote, it’s often because they feel they don’t know where the candidates stand, and because they mistrust politics in general. This is borne out by CEEP founder Paul Loeb’s many interactions with students on his speaking tours. “I don’t know enough,” one woman said. “All the ads, all the lies, you can’t believe what the candidates say, and I don’t want to vote for the wrong person.” “If I only had a list where I could see what they actually stood for…” Another student said their peers don’t vote “…because it takes a lot of effort to find out what the candidates stand for.” Our guides seek to fill that need. We find them a strong and useful tool to help students and other citizens past the reflex response of “they’re all the same” or “they’re all just lying and spinning.” Download a PDF of this resource here.
Many schools have promoted our guides to their students in previous election cycles. When those schools were surveyed after each electoral cycle, they gave the guides an average rating of nearly 9 points on a 10-point scale. Our guides team is led by a 19-year senior editor and manager at Encyclopedia Britannica, and a former Associate Director of the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.
Here are ways to distribute our guides, drawn from other schools. The more parallel ways you distribute them, the more they’ll become a key part of student decisions whether to vote and who to vote for:
- Distribute them through all-campus email, which is often the most efficient way to reach everyone.
- Distribute them through social media outlets and text blasts. If possible, let us know how many students viewed them.
- Post them prominently on your school’s election-related website, and then link to them.
- Encourage students to visit some of the key websites we draw on, like VoteSmart.org, Vote411.org, FactCheck.org and Politifact.com.
- Ask students to forward them to friends.
- Encourage your student newspaper to use them as a starting point for their election coverage, printing them as inserts or adapting them for longer stories.
- Distribute printed copies of the guides in students’ physical mailboxes. Have student volunteers hand them out as part of their nonpartisan voter engagement effort. Make them a starting point for conversation and reflection.
- Use them to help spark discussions in classrooms and residence halls. The goal is not to get agreement. Rather, it is to get students weighing in on how their own values relate to candidate values.
- Blow the guides up in large posters. Display in high-traffic areas of the student union, classroom buildings or residence halls. It’s an inexpensive way to get major visibility.
- Distribute them off campus, which includes posting printed versions in places like cafes and bars where students congregate.
- Check to see if your neighborhood or area has a community board where people can distribute materials. You can also check your town hall or city hall to see if they have a place to distribute materials.
- Other locations such as public libraries, grocery stores, places of worship and thrift stores can be great places to distribute the guides.
Create Your Own
Use our resource on creating your own nonpartisan guides for down-ballot races, like secretary of state, attorney general, judicial races, congressional and local legislative races, and local and statewide initiatives. Have students draw up these guides under the supervision of a faculty member. Distribute them in the campus, community and online as you would the CEEP guides.