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Michigan student leaders, advocates call on state’s colleges and universities to promote voting and civic engagement on campus
October 06, 2022
LANSING, MI - Michigan’s Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force (CSATF) asked college and university presidents to adopt recommendations to maximize civic engagement and participation.
In a letter cosigned by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, city and township clerks, and education and voting advocacy organizations, the students called for new policies and programs to boost civic engagement ahead of and after the Nov. 8 statewide general election.
“The student leaders on the task force know what their campuses need to do to strengthen and build a culture of voting and civic engagement among students, faculty, and staff,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “As civic leaders, they support their communities, our state, and our democracy.”
“In sharing our recommendations, our goal is to foster discussions on our campuses about their role in a thriving democracy,” said CSATF members Rose Reilly (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) and Jeremy Johnson (Oakland University). “As we hear back from the institutions we reached out to, we hope to develop a better understanding of the variety of programming used across the state and develop a standard system for evaluation. This will allow us to share election resources with students so that we may better advocate for policy that assists colleges and universities in the unique ways they require. We look forward to sharing what we’ve learned with our peers across the state."
“Voting early in life makes it a habit that can last a lifetime and these recommendations can help make it easier to start,” said Adam Wit, president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. “We commend the task force for their effort to engage their fellow students in voting and collaborate with their colleges and universities to help them create a supportive environment for young voters.”
“Educated, engaged, and active voters are key to a healthy democracy,” said David Hecker, president of AFT Michigan. “These well-researched recommendations will help Michigan’s colleges and universities promote active civic participation among their educators, staff, and students. Higher education can and should be a leader in the implementation of policies that ensure every eligible member of the campus community can exercise their right to vote.”
Recommendations to colleges and universities in preparation for the statewide general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, include:
- Establishing Election Day as a school holiday
- Encouraging students, faculty, and staff to serve as election workers
- Coordinating a campus-specific, informational voting and elections campaign
- Enrolling in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge to participate in the Michigan Department of State’s Michigan Collegiate Voting Challenge
- Joining more than 440 presidents and chancellors by signing the ALL IN Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation
CSATF was formed in September 2019 by the Department of State as a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan and statewide coalition of college students to enable and support more civic engagement on Michigan campuses. Task force members serve as liaisons between the department and their respective campus communities. The current cohort of CSATF members were selected to serve for one calendar year from April 2022 until April 2023. The students represent 18 community colleges, colleges, and universities statewide.
A copy of the letter, the College & University Recommendations for Student Voter Education and Engagement, and more information about CSTAF can be found here.
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