Event at UMD aims to increase student voter turnout
DULUTH, MN -- Student action groups and organizations took part in an event called “Voterpalooza” Wednesday.
Groups like the College Democrats, College Republicans, and League of Women Voters all had booths set up encouraging students to register to vote.
“College students don’t understand just how much say they have in our political system and in our future,” said Raelin Karstens, president of the College Democrats at UMD.
Those in attendance felt it was an important way to encourage students to get to the polls in November.
“We’re also here specifically to get the voter registration and also distribute candidate information, campaigning, and making students aware of candidates on the ballot,” said Jacob Ringstad, president of the College Republicans.
Both sides of the political spectrum hoped to stress the importance of casting a ballot to their peers.
“Midterms usually have a lower voter turnout in a general scope, but still we can try to get students as aware of voting not only on voter registration but how to vote,” Ringstad said.
Minnesota saw the highest voter turnout in the country by percentage in 2020, with 79.4% of eligible voters casting their vote for president.
Recent studies seem to suggest younger people are voting more too.
In the 2018 midterms, Generation X, Millennial, and Generation Z voters outnumbered Boomers in votes for the first time ever.
Young voter turnout was up almost 11% in 2020 compared to 2016 according to some researchers.
“It’s really important that people turn out for this election. There are a lot of really huge things on the ballot this year, and so young people need to get their voices heard,” said Karstens.
She believes that message is all the more effective coming from fellow students.
“There’s so much more connection there, a lot more understanding, and so it’s like a friend telling you to go; it has a bigger impact,” she said.
Ringstad expressed the same sentiment.
“A lot of the same policies that we’re thinking, a lot of the same things that hit us closest to home are also hitting our fellow students closest,” he said.
Karstens believes the event was a great idea and is thankful to the school for helping facilitate it.
“Student-to-student is really the way that we’re gonna get people to vote here at UMD,” she said.
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