Preparing Students to Vote in the Midterm Elections
By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project
Many university representatives are engaged in activities to prepare students to vote in the midterm elections. The midterm elections are scheduled for November 2nd, 2010. As is well know, it is very difficult to get students to the polls for state and local elections. A recent CIRCLE report found that only 15% of citizens age 18-29 voted in the recent special election for Massachusetts Senator. According to CIRCLE, “turnout in the 2009 Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial races was [also] poor (17% and 19%, respectively).” (Click here to read full CIRCLE report.)
What many students don’t recognize is that local and state elections often have more impact on their lives than federal elections. Students came out in large numbers for the 2008 presidential election, with almost 53% of 18-29 voting. This represented an 11% increase from the 2000 presidential election and speaks to the hard work taking place on ADP campuses to get students to the polls.
Tell me about your work. Currently I am soliciting stories from innovative campuses that are doing creative and interesting things to get students to the polls for the midterm elections. I would like to know what you are planning to do. I am going to write a blog post to showcase your efforts. I will also create a webpage on the ADP website with a list of these activities. This is an opportunity to share the important work that you’re doing.
If you’d some ideas about how to engage students in and educate them about the midterm elections, consider purchasing a copy of the American Democracy Project’s Electoral Voices: Engaging College Students in Elections monograph on the AASCU book store website.