What is the California Students Vote Project?
California Students Vote Project Overview
Established in 2016, the California Secretary of State (SOS) Students Vote Project (SVP) is a statewide nonpartisan program that elevates college student voices and promotes civic engagement efforts to build a more inclusive democracy. Through the creation of the Students Vote Project, California was the first state in the nation to build partnerships across the state’s major higher education systems to empower students to participate in the democratic process. Program objectives include increasing college student voter education, voter registration, and outreach. The SVP achieves these objectives by hosting civic engagement events, creating educational resources, and partnering with campuses and outreach organizations.
One civic engagement event that occurs during statewide election years is the California University and College Ballot Bowl. Created in 2018, the Ballot Bowl is a friendly competition where all California higher education systems can compete to register the most students to vote.
The Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act (SCVEA)
In 2019, the Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act (California Education Code §66850-66852; California Elections Code §2148.5) was enacted to give California colleges and universities the necessary tools to increase civic engagement and participation among young voters. In 2020, the California Secretary of State Students Vote Project was expanded to support and ensure implementation of the landmark law. The law requires the California SOS to work directly with the California Community Colleges (CCCs) and California State Universities (CSUs) to increase college student voter registration. Colleges and universities are encouraged to participate in SVP civic learning opportunities to receive and distribute voter education resources. While the University of California (UC) and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) campuses are not required to participate, they continue to be strong partners and supporters of student civic engagement.
Civic and Voter Empowerment Coordinators (CVEC)
The Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act states all California State Universities and California Community Colleges identify an individual on campus to be a Civic and Voter Empowerment Coordinator (CVEC). The CVEC is responsible for ensuring the duties outlined in the SCVEA are implemented on their campus.
CVECs include, but are not limited to:
- Government Relations Directors
- Student Life Directors
- University/College staff that work closely with students
If you are the CVEC for your campus, please complete the appropriate form by clicking one of the links below:
SVP Programming & Civic Engagement Resources
View our programming and resources page which includes a list of educational materials, important California civic and election dates, voter guides and more.
College Student Voter Registration
Who can register to vote?
You can register to vote if you are:
- A United States citizen and a resident of California
- 18 years old or older on Election Day
- Not currently in a state or federal prison for the conviction of a felony
- Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court
The California Secretary of State Students Vote Project tracks college student voter registration through the following methods:
Online voter registration
- If you meet the criteria above, please use the following link to register to vote: registertovote.ca.gov/?t=s.
- This unique link will allow the name of the college you attend to be included in your voter registration.
Physical voter registration
- Physical voter registration cards (VRCs) can be requested by campuses from the California Secretary of State’s office. Please note on the form that you are requesting cards for college students or the Ballot Bowl competition.
- Find the VRC request form here: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/vrdis.pdf.
- Email completed VRC form to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Track Campus Voter Registration Numbers
- College student voter registration numbers are updated monthly throughout the year. Track campuses here: https://caballotbowl.sos.ca.gov.