The 2018 election in Minnesota was historic for its record high voter turnout among students. There was an energy and excitement that we have not seen for some time during a non-presidential election year. This was a direct result of the work of student leaders, faculty and staff throughout the community and technical colleges that worked to educate and motivate students to have their voices heard.
Over 15,000 Students Pledged to Vote
A total of 35 campuses gathered student pledges to vote this year. They had thousands of one to one conversations with students while tabling and in classrooms. At the beginning of the year, campuses set goals on how many students they wanted to have pledged to vote. Congratulations to the following campuses for reaching their goals: Anoka Ramsey – Coon Rapids, Central Lakes College – Brainerd, Century College, Dakota County Technical College, Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College, M-State – Wadena, Rainy River Community College, Ridgewater – Hutchinson, Ridgewater – Willmar, Riverland – Austin and South Central College – Faribault.
National Voter Registration Day Success
On September 26, campuses organized a day of action to help students register to vote. Students organized events and spoke in classrooms across the state to register the most number of people in a single day for LeadMN – 2,140 people registered. The student efforts were featured on the news with WCCO in Minneapolis, Lakeland PBS in Brainerd, KIMT in Rochester, and KAAL in Austin.
The State of Student Voting
LeadMN released a report analyzing the voting trends of students in Minnesota. We found that Minnesota student voter participation is above the national average. The report showed how each community and technical college in the state compared to each other.
Early voting Satellite Location
We worked with faculty at Saint Paul College to open up the first early voting center on a community college campus. This brought the voting process directly to the students and encouraged many students that otherwise might not have voted, to participate in the process. In addition, there was a campus celebration that day called Vote Together, which helped put the fun back in voting. As part of the day, students could learn more about the voting process and search out information on the candidates on their ballot.
Text to Vote Reminders
LeadMN sent over 10,000 text messages to students asking them to be a voter on Nov 6. We helped thousands of students find their polling locations and learn about how they can register to vote on Election Day.
Minnesota’s voter turnout rate was estimated at 64 percent and national numbers suggest that youth voter turnout increased by 10 percentage points compared to 2014. We could not have had an impact without all the student leaders that worked tirelessly on the Get Out the Vote campaign. However, our work does not end with the election. We are now turning our attention to the legislative session where we plan to make sure newly elected legislators hear the voice of students as they develop policies throughout the session.