Project Red Leaf's objective is to grow a conservative voter base on college campuses across the United States. It is based on the belief that increasing the number of registered conservative voters on college campuses will positively impact local, state, and national elections, giving conservatives a better chance of winning or retaining seats.
Project Red Leaf (PRL) is a national network of certified Third Party Voter Registration Organization’s (3PVRO’s). For example, Project Red Leaf – University of Tampa is a 3PVRO registered in the State of Florida (ID#13-1). So, PRL has been legally approved and is acknowledged by the state’s Supervisor of Elections. This is what provides the permission needed to register people to vote in local, state, and federal elections.
PRL's motto is: “One student at a time will make all the difference.” The organization continues its work with college conservative groups and College Republican organizations, which allows for the leveraging of national resources. The project follows a two-step process:
1) The college conservative / College Republican organization participates in local activities to promote conservatism.
2) After receiving an education on the key differences between conservatism and liberalism, they are urged to register to vote.
A movement like PRL is needed because:
- During his political campaigns, Barack Obama was on college campuses 1 out of every 10 days.
- Liberal students dominate college campuses at a ratio greater than 2:1.
- The Millennial Generation makes up about 1/5 of the electorate. By 2015, they will account for 1/3.
- Overall, 28% of young voters identify as Republicans, with 30% of young men categorizing themselves as Republican, compared with 26% of young women.
- The majority of young voters identify themselves as Democrat (47%), with 55% of young women classified as Democrats, compared to 38% of men.
Project Red Leaf is busy at work, attempting to become the largest national, conservative voter registration organization. Traditionally a bastion of liberal politics, PRL aims to take a chunk of the college campus electorate by increasing conservative voter registration year-round.
So, how does Project Red Leaf work? PRL works in conjunction with conservative groups on any given campus. Once affiliation is made between PRL and the campus organization, the organization appoints a Campus Director who works closely with PRL. This individual is the liaison between the organization and Project Red Leaf’s national team. Depending on the university, it is recommended that a minimum of 1-4 hours per month be dedicated to registering individuals to vote.
PRL, though still only in its first year, is currently established on 8 campuses. Already making an impact, at the University of Tampa, with PRL's assistance, there was an almost 50% increase in student votes, from 2008 to 2012, for Republican candidates. I asked PRL president and co-founder, John Publicover, how many college campuses the organization plans to have expanded to by election time in 2014 and 2016. He estimates approximately 40 campuses by the 2014 election and 100 by 2016.
Publicover, originally from New Hampshire, is a student at the University of Tampa and began working on Project Red Leaf during the 2012 general election when he was helping to organize voter registration efforts in Tampa Bay. Now a sophomore, he reflects on the fact that his parents encouraged him to develop his own political viewpoints independent of theirs. His enthusiastic embrace of conservative politics was just the momentum needed to propel Publicover to take his passion to a national level, developing Project Red Leaf.
If you are interested in learning more about Project Red Leaf or would like to pass this information on to a college student or college campus, please visit the website at ProjectRedLeaf.com. A representative from PRL will assist the school with voter registration. Alternatively, you can reach the organization by phone at (813) 501-LEAF or send an email to [email protected].