In an effort to prepare for mail-in voting, StampsToStudents is distributing free stamps to college students.
StampsToStudents is a nonpartisan effort founded by two college professors, Danny Erdberg and Ursula Kwong-Brown, and allows any college student in North Carolina and Florida to request a stamp to use to mail their ballots.
Erdberg and Kwong-Brown said these states were chosen because young voters would have the most influence and the states do not provide free stamps along with a mail-in ballot.
Erdberg said during this unprecedented time, an increased amount of students will vote by mail due to COVID-19 safety concerns, which means they will be dependent on processes that can be difficult and convoluted.
“This is such an unusual year,” Erdberg said. “This year, there are all of these people who are going to be voting, both for the first time for students, and also for the first time by mail, which is this whole, convoluted process. Nobody makes it easy.”
Students and young adults made up nearly 30 percent of the voting eligible population in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. But they continue to turn out to vote at historically low rates, according to the Campus Vote Project.
Carrboro Town Council member Barbara Foushee said it is critical that college students vote in elections, and this effort is a good way to encourage that.
“It's important for college students to vote in every election,” Foushee said. “This election here is particularly important for any number of reasons. It is the election of a lifetime, right? Democracy is literally on the ballot. The soul of our nation is on the ballot.”
In response to these realities, Erdberg and Kwong-Brown launched a website where students can request a stamp to be delivered at their door. They have raised about $2,800 to fund the stamps, and Erdberg said on Monday, they sent out their first shipment of over 400 stamps.