Friday, September 18, 2020

Call for Proposals: Increasing Civic Engagement and Voter Accessibility in the 2020 Elections

Help increase civic engagement and voter accessibility in the 2020 election!

The Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement (CDCE) has launched an initiative to increase civic engagement and improve voting accessibility for the 2020 elections. As part of the initiative, CDCE will award small grants to student organizations via a grant competition. Any organization recognized as a student organization at UMD is welcome to apply, though to receive funds a KFS account will be necessary. Organizations that wish to collaborate are welcome to submit a joint application but will need to designate a lead organization.

The funds can be used for any purpose that will support greater civic engagement and/or voting accessibility for the 2020 elections. For example, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) recently advised that the State Board of Elections (SBE) is experiencing a shortage of election judges to staff polling locations. MHEC has requested that colleges and universities in the state encourage students to volunteer to serve as polling judges. This initiative includes, but is not limited to students serving as polling judges. Students can also assist with general voter outreach and the mail-in voting process.

Grants from $1,000 and up to $2,500 will be awarded on a competitive basis to select student organizations that demonstrate tangible ways in which they will use the award funds to facilitate, motivate, and incentivize students to become civically engaged and participate in the democratic process by ensuring that citizens have full and equal opportunity to vote. Participation is not limited to students who reside in Maryland, as shortages in election judges, issues related to mail-in ballots, and other obstacles to voting are occurring nationwide.
Proposal Requirements:

  • Narrative of no more than one page (single-spaced, 12 pt. font) that describes the organization’s plan and how it will facilitate and encourage student involvement to promote voting accessibility. The narrative should also include details about how student participation will be overseen, confirmed, and evaluated.
  • Organization Description of no more than one page per organization (single-spaced, 12 pt. font) that describes the organization’s mission, membership (including a count), history, whether the organization is recognized by SGA, SORC, or other entities, experience doing civic engagement work, and ability to accept payment via an organization KSF account.
  • Brief Budget and Budget Explanation of no more than one page that provides details about how the funds will be spent and the timeline for the expenditures.
  • KFS account number for the organization.
  • Phone number and email address for the organization member(s) supervising the project.
Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis but please submit proposals to by 11:59 pm on September 25, 2020. If you have any questions please contact Professor Michael Hanmer, CDCE Research Director, at

Award Conditions:
  • Awardees will be designated as CDCE grantees for one year.
  • In consultation with CDCE, when possible the organization agrees to acknowledge funding from GVPT's CDCE in its communications and activities related to the funding.
  • Awardees are expected to give a brief presentation to CDCE faculty about the effectiveness of their proposal to engage students in making voting more accessible for the 2020 election and what efforts may be useful to consider/not consider in the future.
  • No later than December 14, 2020, awardees should submit a report of no more than onepage describing how the funds were used, including copies of relevant receipts. Please submit the report to