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Special Project

Special Project

MTV Campus Challenge with Campus Vote Project

Entered in Nonprofit Partnership


While college students voted at a higher rate than youth voters in 2020, young people who did not vote in 2016 cited lack of transportation and inconvenient locations as barriers that kept them from the polls (2018 CIRCLE). That is why MTVE decided to focus on removing those barriers by partnering with Campus Vote Project (CVP), a leading civic engagement non-profit focused on student voting, to support college students across the country in expanding access to on-campus voting options to make it easier for their community to vote. Alongside CVP, we supported student fellows at 38 schools in 10 states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Texas) with the goal of helping them make voting more accessible for their campus communities.

College students already face a multitude of barriers when it comes to voting including confusing voter ID laws, busy schedules, and lack of accessible transportation. We conducted independent research to better understand how many college students have to go off-campus to cast their ballots and found that:

74% of colleges did not have ANY polling place on campus in 2020; and
90% of college campuses did not have any in-person early voting options on campus in 2020.

With these troubling findings, our goal was to increase access to on-campus voting options and drop-boxes that are crucial to giving young people the opportunity to be civically engaged and have their voices heard.


Together with Campus Vote Project, we provided grant funding for student fellows at 38 schools in 10 states and developed a comprehensive toolkit to help them navigate the complicated election institutions in their state, including support for conversations with election administrators and campus leadership, templates for request letters, tips on where to place your on-campus polling place and how to staff it, and ideas for how to make it visible to the community once secured.

Besides providing the opportunity for college students to engage with campus leadership, we also wanted to encourage fellows to get their peers excited to vote early. Fellows were awarded points for tasks they completed in addition to securing or protecting a polling place. These included tasks like creating a campus-specific voting plan, getting an article about the on-campus polling site placed in the school paper or having the school administration write a letter of support for the on-campus voting site. These points were used to motivate students to earn additional grant funding and resources so that they could host Vote Early Day celebrations for their campus communities.

We met with our fellows individually to understand the current voting landscape on their campus and the resources that they were lacking. Via our wide range of MTVE channels and platforms, we were able to amplify the campus stories and shed light on the work that these student leaders were doing on their campuses through local and national press opportunities.


Our objective was to make early voting during the 2022 Midterm Election more accessible to young people. Through our partnership with Campus Vote Project, we were able to help students secure 12 on-campus polling places in 6 states, reaching an estimate of more than 350,000 students. In addition to our partnership and support for fellows at 38 schools, we supported 18 of those schools by helping them host Vote Early Day celebrations with additional grant money, swag, and pizza to increase turnout by making voting fun. Additionally, we were able to pass the mic to our fellows to amplify the work they were doing on their college campuses through local and national press opportunities.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

MTV Entertainment Studios


Entry Credits