Millersville University and University president, Dr. Daniel Wubah, have made the commitment to achieve 100% student voter registration status in 2020. This commitment comes as part of the “ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge,” a non-partisan initiative designed to increase student voting rates and active civil engagement. More than 650 campuses, enrolling more than 7.5 million students, have joined the challenge since its launch in the summer of 2016.
While student voter turnout has increased, the ALL IN challenge seeks to continue to improve civic engagement. College student voter turnout, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study, increased from 19% to 40% between 2014 and 2018.
“Today, young people are truly seeing how the decisions their elected officials make impact their everyday lives, and in this critical time, ensuring that they are able to make their voices heard safely is critical,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge . “We are excited to partner with higher education leaders across the country to change the culture at colleges and universities around engagement in our country’s political process. We are calling on all college presidents to make this commitment to their students, campuses and communities.”
In 2018, Millersville saw a student voting rate of almost 42%, which was higher than the average 39% voting rate of all institutions.
By signing the pledge, Millersville University has committed to ensuring all eligible students are able to register to vote and cast informed ballots in the 2020 general election and beyond. Further, MU is committed to fostering a campus culture that supports nonpartisan student civic learning, political engagement and student voter participation.
The Office of Civic and Community Engagement will be focusing their efforts on not only helping students register to vote, but also keeping them informed on important dates and the ways in which they can cast their vote this election year.
Civic and Community Engagement plans to hold in-person table events to make registration easy and convenient for more students. Of course, this will still follow the University’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. Events are planned to be held on September 17, Constitution day; September 22, National Voter Registration day; and November 3, the deadline to vote.
Lori Leaman, who works in program and events for the office, explained why she feels it is important for students to make their voices heard through their vote, “I think if anybody has not been living under a rock they can probably list a dozen things that they have seen in the news or on social media feeds that have really encouraged them and things that have probably outraged them.” She shares, “It’s important to vote people into positions that are able to help out the American people, in good times when things are going well, and in pandemics when they’re not.”
Dr. Adam Lawrence, professor and director of the Walker Center at Millersville, weighed in on why he feels voting is an important civic right for students as well, “At Civic and Community Engagement, we believe that students deserve to have a voice in their government. As a participant in the ALL IN Democracy Challenge, we are committed to the goal of making sure that every student is registered to vote in time for the upcoming election on Nov. 3, 2020. Registering to vote and casting a ballot in Pennsylvania has never been easier. We challenge everyone – student, faculty and staff – to take an active interest in the communities where you live, work and study. After all, democracy is a not a spectator sport!”
The deadline to register to vote is October 19, and you can complete your registration online. Also, registered voters will be able to cast their ballots in-person, at their designated polling location, or by mail if you submit a request online to have a ballot sent to you.
More information on the ALL IN challenge can be found here: https://www.allinchallenge.org/