Newswise — After setting a record for voter registration rates this past fall, NU Votes has its sights on driving student engagement in upcoming local elections.

NU Votes has launched a new online 2017 Evanston Municipal Election Guide to inform students about the upcoming local primary and general elections on Feb. 28 and April 4, respectively.

The non-partisan initiative was created by the Northwestern Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) to provide the Northwestern community accessible and easy-to-understand information about local voter registration and voting procedures.

NU Votes in the fall launched a voter registration tool specifically designed for Northwestern students, and it helped achieve a record 96-percent voter registration rate for eligible incoming freshman.

By creating the new Evanston Guide, CCE seeks to capture some of that civic fervor and direct it toward a level of government many do not follow closely, if at all. 

“Local elections are notoriously difficult to get voters to turn out for, and that’s especially true for college students who might identify with both their hometown and school communities and may not feel prepared to participate in local politics,” said Katrina Weimholt, an assistant director at the Center for Civic Engagement. “We are excited to provide a service to the Northwestern community that helps educate students about the Evanston elections and how local politics affects them, as well as provide resources to help them participate.” 

College students can register to vote at either their permanent addresses or their campus addresses. The Evanston municipal guide provides information for students already registered to vote in Evanston or for those interested in registering at their campus addresses.

Students can register to vote during grace period registration, which ends today (Monday, Feb. 27), at the Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., or on the day of the election at their local polling place. To register, you must present two forms of ID, one showing your Evanston address.

"When I first heard about Evanston elections, my first instinct was to search the web for candidates, platforms and voter information. But there was a surprising lack of information readily available,” Northwestern junior Sim Chadha said. “I think the voter guide does a great job of bridging that gap.

“Now Northwestern students can figure out how to vote and decide who to vote for, all in one convenient place." 

The primary election on Feb. 28 includes five candidates for mayor of Evanston and five candidates for Fifth Ward alderman.