Updated: Apr 29
Daniel Gilaj, News Editor
Courtesy of Campus Vote Project
The Campus Vote Project is a non-partisan organization that strongly advocates for campus voter and student voter outreach and turnout. Their goal is to ensure that students have access to the resources and information that they need in order to be part of the student voting body.
I interviewed a University of Michigan-Dearborn student, as well as an Eastern Michigan University student affiliated with the initiative, in order to get a better understanding of the program, as well as to clear up any misunderstandings.
When interviewing EMU student and Secretary of State Collegiate Student Task Force member Naomi Barbour, I inquired of the primary focus of the Campus Vote Project. She responded that the main goal is simply to increase the rate at which college students vote.
It is important to note, from both the members of the Campus Vote Project, that they are strictly non-partisan and indiscriminate of any student’s socio-political standing. The main goal is to increase turnout.
Barbour further stressed the importance of the voting power of each student by dispelling the defeatist attitude that a single vote holds no weight. Instead, they noted that the status of Prop 2 is evidence that students hold strong voting power.
Sammy Caruso, UM-Dearborn student and Campus Vote Project affiliate, raised awareness that, for any students currently residing within the Fairlane Meadows, Fairlane Woods, or the Union at Dearborn building, you may be able to register these areas as your voting domain.
The Campus Vote Project is currently getting the engineering students at UM-D involved in the voting process, as they make up a majority of our campus population. Though there is an imbalance between the voting population of majors, such as political science majors, it is vital to note that each vote counts just the same.
There are multiple ways to get involved with the Campus Vote Project. For starters, you can follow this link in order to find out more about the organization, its mission, as well as opportunities to join the team.
Additionally, there is a monthly general meeting where students can raise their concerns to a body and have their ideas be heard. Because this meeting is affiliated more closely with the Turn Up Turn Out organization, in order to gain more information, the Office of Student Life is a great place to start.
For those who might be interested in joining the democracy fellowships, Barbour provided a link here that acts as an excellent place to begin. These are paid, part-time positions that any major can apply for, so long as they are actively enrolled at a university.
The Campus Vote Project has also had its sights on the Michigan Legislature that aimed to move the presidential primary election to February 27, which lines up with many winter breaks across Michigan. This will ultimately leave many students displaced from their voting regions, as they could potentially be visiting family during the break. Upwards of 155,000 students could be affected by this timing.
It is evident that the Campus Vote Project has a tangible effect on the information that students can acquire about the voting process. Barbour informed me that they regularly set up tables to help educate students on the process of voting, netting several students per table.
It is refreshing to know that each campus is figuring out their own approach to voter empowerment. Caruso assured us that non-traditional campuses, or commuter campuses, such as UM-D are taking care to figure out what works best for our students.
Though there is a lot to learn about the voting process, the Campus Vote Project is set on demonstrating that voting is an exercisable right of which we should take advantage. One thing that both Sammy and Naomi agreed upon without equivocation is that the main goal is to increase voter turnout regardless of personal belief or alignment.
Make sure to find your voter and registration status and cast your vote whenever you can. Keep an eye out for the Campus Vote Project, and see how you can impact the future voting population.