“March Forward and Vote:” CUNY Launches Crucial Voter Registration Campaign

The City University of New York this month launches a March Forward and Vote campaign to encourage students, faculty and staff to register and vote in the upcoming federal and state elections. This campaign kicks off registration activities and wide-ranging discussions of issues on CUNY campuses in this presidential election season. It continues the University’s long-standing, nonpartisan educational mission to equip students to be active citizens, and to participate in civic activities to improve City life.

“Nothing gets to the heart of being an American more than voting,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “Voter participation and civic involvement are essential to a strong, vibrant democracy,” he said. “If you are not yet a registered voter, now is the time to complete an application and make sure that your voice is heard in the upcoming elections.”

As part of CUNY’s cooperative effort with the University Student Senate, many CUNY colleges are holding voter registration events and issue forums, as well as making voter registration application available on campus.

University Student Senate Chair Kafui Kouakou said students made registration a priority after the Legislature authorized a tuition increase last year. “By voting, students will send a strong message to our elected officials that they have to listen to our needs,” he said. Kouakou, a master’s student in economics at Brooklyn College, was born in Togo. He expects to complete the U.S. citizenship process in time to vote in the November elections.

CUNY is experiencing the highest student enrollments in its history. Over 271,000 degree credit students are in attendance this Spring along with over 269,000 adult and continuing education students who are enrolled annually. Applications for Fall 2012 are being processed at a record pace, driven in large part by a 36 percent increase in students applying to the Macaulay Honors College.

CUNY has made registering easy. The CUNY Votes website (www.cuny.edu/vote) has a downloadable New York State Voter Registration Form that can be printed and mailed to the New York City Board of Elections, along with a how-to guide and deadlines for registration. In addition, free, high quality, and confidential citizenship and immigration law services to help immigrants on their path to U.S. citizenship are available at www.cuny.edu/citizenship.

CUNY students who are interested in other civic opportunities, such as community service, citywide volunteer activities and cultural events, should take advantage of “Citizen CUNY,” the University’s online entry to student services, which can be accessed through the CUNY portal. This intranet service connects to many other University benefits, as well, including job banks and career counseling, veterans’ services, financial aid advice, and much more.

The University also joined an advisory board organized by New York City Campaign Finance Board, a nonpartisan, city agency that strives to enhance the role of New York City residents in elections. Also joining are voter registration and civic engagement groups like Rock the Vote and Voto Latino.

This year, there are three primary elections and the general election:
March 30 is the last day to register for the presidential primary election that takes place April 24.
June 1 is the last day to register for the federal primary election that takes place on June 26.
Aug. 17 is the last day to register for the state primary election that takes place on Sept. 11.
Oct. 12 is the last day to register for the general and presidential election that takes place on Nov. 6.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as The Free Academy, the University has 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves over 271,000 degree credit students and 269,808 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. More than 1 million visitors and 2 million page views are served each month by www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.