In the past two elections – presidential and midterm – Central Michigan University student voter participation has spiked. Let’s keep up the streak in this upcoming midterm election.
The outcome of the Nov. 8 election will not only determine the future of Michigan but of those that live and thrive in the state. There are dozens of positions up for grabs from local to state government and there are many issues at stake – legislature term length, voter rights and reproductive freedom.
It’s up to each and every one of us individually to use our voice by voting.
Two years ago, we saw one of the most divisive elections in American history. We also saw a large increase in collegiate voter turnout with 66% of college students who were registered to vote casting their ballots – an increase of 14% over the 2016 presidential election, according to the Washington Post.
This year, there is less of a back and forth between candidates campaigning to fulfill the open positions, but that doesn't lessen the importance of the people that fill these roles and how they will determine Michigan's future.
Multiple statewide offices are on the ballot including governor, state house and senate and the state Supreme Court. Between Mount Pleasant and Isabella County, there are eight local government positions on the ballot.
The decisions made by the people in these positions have lasting effects.
Local governments, determined by state government, fund police departments, schools, parks and nearly every aspect of the community. They decide what a community looks like and how it prospers.
Students often think their voice doesn’t matter, but statistics from past years suggest otherwise.
In the most recent midterms, the U.S. saw a surge in college student voting from 19% in 2014 to 40% in 2018, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement.
You can see it on Central Michigan University’s campus, too. Organizations on campus, like Central Civics and Central Votes, have hosted dozens of non-partisan events and activities focused on voter registration, education and civic participation.
“The more people that are engaged the more they care about it,” said Norma Bailey, with Central Votes. “So… this is why we call it Central Votes, we're trying to brand our campus as a university that in fact votes.”
Central Michigan Life was proud to work with these groups and the Griffin Forum to sponsor a voter information session Oct. 25, featuring community and campus leaders representing both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ vote for each of the three ballot proposals.
The work done by students and faculty has paid off. A 2021 study by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education reported CMU student voter rates beat the national average in the 2020 election by over 2%.
In the 2014 midterms, 16% of CMU students voted. Four years later, that number spiked to almost 35%. Let’s make the numbers jump again in this upcoming midterm election.
CMU is taking steps to engage students in voter activity. It’s up to you to show up. Participate. And most importantly, vote.