Campus News

UW-Madison joins Big Ten Voter Challenge aimed at increasing election turnout

Image By: Morgan Winston and Morgan Winston

Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Monday UW-Madison’s involvement in an inter-Big Ten Conference competition aimed at increasing voter registration and turnout among students on college campuses.

The Big Ten Voting Challenge plans to encourage voter registration by creating a competition between the 14 conference schools and is in response to the recent historically low voter turnout among people under 30.

According to a joint statement released by the chancellors and presidents of Big Ten schools, the competition is important to encourage students to play a role in shaping their own future.

“Voter turnout for people under age 30 is historically low as compared with older segments of the population, especially in midterm elections,” the leaders said in a statement. “We know we can all do better. Our democracy will thrive when all voices are represented, and students can play an integral role in shaping our collective future.”

According to the statement, “trophies will go to two universities — the one with the highest eligible voter turnout and the one with the most improved turnout” in the 2018 midterm elections. Schools can partner their existing registration and voting initiatives on their campus with the Big Ten Voting Challenge initiatives, and get-out-the-vote efforts will count toward awarding the trophies.

The Vote Everywhere Team at the Morgridge Public Service Center, who will lead the campus participation in the challenge at UW-Madison, said in a statement they are excited that UW-Madison is participating in the event. The group added that the challenge provides students with an opportunity to get more involved in democracy.

“As Vote Everywhere Ambassadors, we are working to ensure students are well informed about elections, are able to register, and can collect their free voter ID on campus,” the group said in the release. “The Big Ten Voting Challenge provides another platform to encourage students to participate in their democracy and exercise their right to vote.”

Associated Students of Madison Vice Chair Billy Welsh also expressed his support for the competition, adding that ASM would also be working with the project to boost turnout.

“I am happy to see that the Big Ten is coming together to work on something as critical as voter registration and civic engagement,” Welsh said. “ASM is looking forward to working together with the chancellor to engage as many students as possible in our democracy.”

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