Erin Blasko | February 5, 2018
Established to register, educate and mobilize University of Notre Dame students ahead of pivotal elections, NDVotes has evolved to become a nonpartisan leader in politics, working to foster conscientious engagement in political and civic life on campus.
As evidence of that work, the student-led organization recently was recognized by TurboVote, an online service of Democracy Works that facilitates voter registration, requests for absentee ballots and voting reminders, for its engagement efforts over the past year.
According to the nonpartisan voter assistance group, NDVotes engaged more than 500 students with TurboVote during the 2017 calendar year, placing it within the top 10 among 104 college and university partners.
“TurboVote is only as effective as those committed to growing its audience: Those who believe in democratic participation and the power of one’s voice at the polls,” Democracy Works wrote in praise of NDVotes. “The University of Notre Dame’s voter engagement efforts in 2017 are an incredible reflection of these ideals.”
As a successor to Rock the Vote, the MTV-led voter registration, education and mobilization campaign, NDVotes has been active on campus since 2008, participating in that year’s presidential election as well as the midterm elections in 2010.
The group went dormant for a period but then reemerged in 2015.
Wanting to increase political engagement on campus, Sarah Tomas Morgan, then a freshman, helped resurrect the group with help from other students.
“The 2016 election was upcoming, but it wasn’t on a lot of people’s minds,” said Tomas Morgan, a liberal studies major and peace studies minor from South Bend. “So I was looking for people who wanted to engage in political conversation.”