New Jersey Voting Summit

Written by
Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students
Oct. 6, 2022

On Saturday, October 1, Princeton and Vote100 welcomed college students from across New Jersey for a voting summit and workshop. Cosponsored by the ALL-IN Campus Democracy Challenge, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Rutgers-New Brunswick, and Raritan Valley Community College, the New Jersey Voting Summit aimed to further conversations about voting, to create cross-institutional connections, and to develop the leadership skills of student leaders.

Mindful of the approaching midterm election period, presenters reiterated impending voting deadlines and discussed voting statistics about youth voters. New Jersey had the highest participation rate of college voters in the 2020 election cycle, and the NJ Voting Summit was designed to build on that great success for future elections.

TCNJ President Dr. Kathryn Foster, who earned her PhD at Princeton in 1993, gave the keynote address, touching on her own first experience of civil engagement, explaining how the term gerrymander came to be, and succinctly lecturing on the history of voting rights in the United States. Dr. Foster encouraged students to consider voter registration, access, turnout, and election integrity in relation to that history. Dr. Foster’s presentation illuminated that voting rights are not fixed, and that voting in the United States has moments of expansion and exclusion throughout its history.

Following breakout groups, which allowed students to meet peers from partnering institutions, a student panel presented their upcoming events and how they plan to increase turnouts to the polls on November 8. Princeton's social media specialist, Maddy Pryor, presented on how to increase the efficacy of social media posts. TCNJ's team presented on New Jersey specific laws and deadlines with a "How to Vote in NJ 101" primer for the upcoming election cycle.

Lastly, Dr. Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, the executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge at Civic Nation, gave a presentation on campus engagement statistics and practices throughout higher education in the United States. Her organization works with over 930 campuses across the country, including Princeton, and is a fruitful resource for all things voting.

The event was welcomed in the historic Whig Hall by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which often serves as the hub for voting and election activities on Princeton’s campus. Students and faculty were represented from: Princeton University, The College of New Jersey, Mercer County Community College, Middlesex County Community College, Raritan Valley Community College, and Rowan University.

The sponsoring organizations began collaborating on voter outreach initiatives online during the pandemic, and were thrilled to have an opportunity to meet in person for the first time this year. Going forward, the group intends to plan an in-person summit annually so that the one hundred and seventy-six colleges and universities in New Jersey can effectively and efficiently provide information and resources to approximately 400,000 students in the state.