Center for Digital Learning at SUNY Geneseo

Share This Canvas Resource on Ways to Vote in NY

Photo of the Statue of Liberty Statue of Liberty, by Flickr user Steve Parker, CC-BY-2.0

With the General Election less than a month away, it’s important that our students know how to exercise what’s arguably their most significant responsibility as a U.S. citizen: their right to vote.

In order to help my students learn about the voting process, I created an Announcement on Canvas that succinctly summarizes the three ways to cast a vote in the General Election in New York state. I was inspired by a mailer that I received from the Monroe County Board of Elections that provided the same information in an easily digestible format. (If my link above to the Announcement doesn’t take you directly to it in Canvas, you can find it by going to your Canvas dashboard, clicking the link to Commons, and searching for it in the Geneseo Commons. Look for an image of the Statue of Liberty.)

Initially, I sent the Announcement out only to my own courses. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the Announcement could be useful not only to students, but to faculty who similarly wanted to empower students to cast their votes. I decided to share my Announcement on Canvas Commons and then circulate the link to the Canvas resource on the Faculty-L listserv. The goal was to provide my faculty colleagues with an easy, ready-made resource on voting to share with their students.

Here are the reasons why you should consider incorporating my Announcement into your Canvas courses, too.

Voting is important. It’s the cornerstone of our democracy. And in today’s climate, everything is politicized. Students should let their voices be heard, and they only get the opportunity to do so at the national level every two years.

Voting is complicated. One of the most significant barriers to voting is navigating the rules and regulations of the voting process itself. This year, factor in a pandemic, and voting can feel impossible. Providing students with easily digestible information on how to cast their vote helps remove this barrier.

Young people don’t vote. Just 13% of validated voters in 2016 were younger than 30. While citizens 65 years and older turned out at a rate of 70.9 percent, 18- to 29-year-olds turned out at a rate of 46.1 percent in 2016. Yet elections have huge implications for young people and their futures.

Faculty are role models. Students respect faculty and are inspired by many aspects of our courses. As mentors in positions of authority, we can empower students to take action just by mentioning voting and providing them with the basic information on how to cast their votes.

Canvas makes it easy. Whether you’re teaching remote or face-to-face, Canvas is an excellent way to communicate with your students. In order to share my Announcement with your students, you can easily import it from Canvas Commons right into your own Canvas courses and edit as you wish.

This is a simple yet meaningful action. This year’s election may prove to be one of the most important in U.S. history. At the same time, faculty are struggling with unprecedented workloads. I hope that this Canvas resource can provide a small amount of relief for those of us who want to do something meaningful, but often feel like we don’t have the time.

If you have questions about the content of the Announcement or this post, please feel free to email me at