As citizens in a democracy our most critical responsibility and quintessential power lies in selecting our elected representatives through the ballot. The 2016 election holds a great deal at stake.
In Minnesota, not only will we cast ballots for the next president of the United States and our congressional representatives, but for county, municipal and school board offices across the state. However, most important to us as a university community is the election of all 201 seats in the Minnesota State Legislature.
Metropolitan State University is excited to launch the 2016 Metro State Votes Campaign to assist our community’s effort to vote on or before Tuesday, Nov. 8. This effort is managed by Brett Buckner, a graduate student in the College of Management’s Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership program, who is working with the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES). The campaign kicked off with an event Sept. 26 in the Saint Paul Campus at the Student Center.
Among our many roles and responsibilities, Metropolitan State University community members are highly engaged citizens. This is reflected through research conducted by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) which found in the 2012 elections, Metropolitan State students registered (75 percent) and voted (72 percent) at among the highest rates in the nation relative to their college-going peers. Unfortunately in 2014 during the mid-term elections, our voter participation dropped to 36 percent. Metropolitan State University takes pride in its high level of student engagement during election cycles. We can overcome our 2014 drop and strive for higher and record levels of participation in 2016.
To begin the process to boost our participation, we encourage everyone to visit Minnesota Votes, (http://mnvotesinfo.sos.state.mn.us/) the official voter resource guide from the Minnesota Secretary of State. The site contains information for voters, including current voter registration status and instructions for casting an absentee ballot. Please check your voter registration status. If you are not registered and need assistance, e-mail Brett Buckner.
Through the fall, organizers and student leaders from the Students United (formerly Minnesota State University Student’s Association (MSUSA)) will host voter outreach and engagement activities, visit classrooms and produce campus events to connect and encourage Metropolitan State community members to vote. Our marketing and communications department and ICES will collaborate to share stories and critical information through various Metropolitan State University platforms. However, our efforts don’t stop there. The Metro Votes campaign will ask each student club, school, college, department, and the Alumni Association to join in and help spread the word and our vote count through the campaign planning table.
For colleagues and students who hold and attend Tuesday evening classes this fall, there will be a special activity to ensure votes are cast and voices are heard. In October, the campaign will begin a ‘Metro State Votes Early” drive. In mid-September, the campaign team will contact instructors about the drive. Students, please check the News@Metro e-mail newsletter through September for additional details. Faculty members, please consider highlighting Tuesday, Nov. 8, on your course calendars and syllabi to remind and encourage student voter engagement on or before that date. If you would like to schedule a presentation to your class regarding the campaign or any other issue relating to the upcoming election cycle, e-mail Buckner.
2016 Metro State Votes Campaign activities:
• ALL-IN Campaign Kickoff — 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, Student Center, room 101 • Presidential Candidates Debate Viewing Party — 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, Student Center, room 101
• Presidential Debate Viewing Party — 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. Location TBD
• 100 Hours to Vote Event — 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4. Location TBD
• MAPL Election Decompression — 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 at Saint Paul Campus, Great Hall
Metro State Votes 2016 is cosponsored by the American Democracy Project, Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES), Students United (formerly Minnesota State Universities Student Associations (MSUSA)) and the Metropolitan State University Student Senate.