The college saw a rise in student voter turnout in the midterm elections after the college’s increased efforts and education to improve voter registration and participation among students.
Director of Student Leadership Jason Meier said student voting rates have increased 33.2 percentage points since the 2014 midterm elections.
To create a more positive impact, the college partnered with students and organizations to provide voting registration resources during the 2018 Midterm elections, according to previous Beacon reporting. This included popup windows on EmConnect and voter registration and absentee ballot education with student orgs, OLs, RAs, and faculty.
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement reported that, in 2018, 81.3 percent of eligible Emerson students were registered to vote. In 2014, 6.1 percent of first-year students voted compared to 36% who voted in 2018. 2014, 7.7 percent of sophomores voted compared to 36.4 percent who voted in 2018. And in 2014, only 9 percent of upperclassmen, juniors, and seniors voted, compared to 41.4% percent who voted in 2018.
“It’s such a low number for students who claim to be politically engaged and civically engaged, and to care about issues,” Meier said in an interview with The Beacon. “So we really challenged everyone to look at that data and look at that information and determine how we can have a more positive impact.”
Sophomore Robbie Schinder worked closely with the college to help educate students and the community through his nonprofit Absentee Ballots Now.
“It’s gaining confidence for voters who say they don’t think their vote is going to be counted if they vote with the absentee ballot,” Schinder said in an interview with The Beacon. “And it’s reassuring the process is reliable and is safe and is secure, and it’s an easy way for their vote to count,” Schinder said.
The college also partnered with Ace The Midterms, a campaign across college campuses to get students to register to vote in 2018.
Senior David Fadul, co-president of the Communications, Politics, and Law Association, volunteered during the Ace The Midterms campaign last year. He helped educate students on voter registration and absentee ballot to provide students with everything they needed to vote in the election.
“We really tried to put it in everyone’s face and say, ‘This is something that’s happening,’ and make it very difficult to ignore it,” said Fadul. “Once people saw that it’s not a difficult process, people clearly participated.”