UVote has designed a system that integrates 50 states’ processes, laws and forms into a single process that can be integrated into traditional university activities like orientation programs, residential life, or class registration.

How it works

  • Key Components
  • The Process
  • Nuts & Bolts


In person registration

As convenient as online resources are, at the end of the day voter registration is still an in-person, pen-and-paper, mail-in-forms process in the vast majority of states. UVote relies on trained staff and face-to-face interactions to ensure that forms are completed and processed correctly and that students’ questions and needs are met at the moment of registration.

Integration point

Not unlike the voter registration efforts you see in some states at the DMV (often known as motor voter laws), UVote embeds voter registration into official university activities that offer every student an opportunity to register to vote. Whether it’s while obtaining a student ID, registering for classes or engaging in another campus-wide activity, UVote schools give students an in-person opportunity to register right there while on campus. This “comprehensive ask” is what sets UVote apart from other campus registration efforts that do not associate the opportunity to register with official school activities.

Institutional support

While student leadership plays a vital role in voter registration, the most successful college efforts require the support of staff, faculty and administrators. Institutional backing ensures that best practices are maintained as students come and go. UVote schools appoint 1-2 staff or faculty leaders who are trained to serve as staff champions and point persons for voter registration at their school.


1. Register

Students are given a face-to-face opportunity to register to vote in-person at a campus-wide activity or event. This typically occurs during orientation week and is targeted at incoming students who are registering for classes, obtaining their student ID or moving into their dorms for the first time.

2. Remind

Students have a lot on their plate at school and their registration status is not always their first priority. Using in-person and email reminders, UVote makes sure students know when and where they registered and which elections are coming up.

3. Vote

Whether voting in person at a campus or nearby polling place, or by absentee ballot back home, UVote reminds students about the information they need to follow through and actually vote!

4. Update

Because students frequently move or change their address, UVote provides opportunities and reminders to help them keep their registration information up-to-date.


Northwestern’s UVote Program provides:

  • Successful program model to register a majority of incoming students in all 50 states
  • Staff consulting on navigating institutional barriers and implementing the program
  • Expertise on the latest laws, forms and policies regarding appropriate voter registration procedures in a college or university setting
  • Training, tools, and technical assistance for setting up, implementing and processing comprehensive voter registration for your incoming students
  • The opportunity for schools to send a positive message to incoming students about the value of civic participation, while also better meeting the federal requirement to promote voter registration on their campus

Partner College or University provides:

  • A Faculty or Staff Champion to support the implementation of UVote on your campus and to work with UVote staff, university staff and administrators
  • A Student Champion (or two) to take a leadership role in recruiting and supervising the necessary student volunteers to administer the registration
  • An identified “integration point” that best fits their campus, where the program can be woven into an official university process or activity (typically during orientation programs) like acquiring student ID cards, picking up meal cards or residence hall keys, registering for classes, etc.
  • Basic support for materials, supplies, postage, etc. for the program