Simpson recognized for high voter registration

by Max Bertrand, Staff Writer

Simpson College has won the All In Campus Democracy Award for the 2020 student voter turnout. All In Campus Democracy Challenge is an outside organization that hosts a challenge between college campuses to see who can get the highest voter turnout rate and voter registration. 

College campuses must sign a release allowing the organization access to voting data to compare data within the state and nationally. Simpson College has participated in this challenge in prior years. 

Every year Simpson students create a strategic plan for voting. Students try to institutionalize specific projects to increase the turnout of student voters. The goal was to hit 75% in student turnout. 90% and above was the goal for the student registration rate.

Elise Sturgeon, the lead Andrew Goodman fellow, said she believes participating in this competition is beneficial. 

“I think long term we always plan to participate in this challenge. I think it’s a good way to help push ourselves as a team to help improve and help stay competitive with other schools.”

Sophomore Will Keck, an Andrew Goodman ambassador, said that the introductory Simpson College foundations courses for first-years are key areas for boosting voter engagement. 

“I think that really helped us improve our voter registration and get them a little more civically engaged here on campus and know a little more about the issues that we have in our community and nationally,” Keck said. 

Sturgeon wants students to know that it is never too late to get involved.

“Even if you’ve skipped a couple of elections here or there, or you haven’t been involved in the past. It’s never too soon to start getting civically engaged within your community,” Sturgeon said. 

Utilizing social media platforms, tabling in Kent Campus Center and hosting events outside of Dunn Library was also beneficial for student voter registration. 

In the future, students plan to keep spreading awareness on voter registration by visiting classes and holding events at the Culver Public Policy Center here at Simpson. Civic engagement is a priority for these students. 

Keck said he wants students to be more involved with issues that may occur on campus. Voting may be at the top of their list, but civil engagement goes beyond voting. It could be picking up a piece of trash on your way to class, or being more involved on the Simpson College campus. Building community is also a significant factor in civic engagement. 

The students here at Simpson do a lot of advocacy for many candidates. The group encourages students who may not want to vote for either candidate to still exercise their voting rights.

A voter may only have one thing in common with one of the candidates, but having one common ground with a candidate may be better than having none with the other and not voting. It’s important to vote for an office member with some qualities you like rather than dismissing voting for either. 

Students who are interested in registering to vote can reach out to Keck via email [email protected]  or Sturgeon via email at [email protected]