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Vote Everywhere making an effort to register unlikely voters on campus

As the midterm election approaches, organizations are exerting an effort to register Miami students to vote - especially those who would not otherwise be compelled to participate in their civic duty.

This push been felt the hardest in the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) and Farmer School of Business (FSB), said Vote Everywhere representative and junior political science and social justice studies major Mackenzie Mercer.

Mercer and her Vote Everywhere colleagues drew from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) 2014 Campus Report on Student Voting Rates for Miami University to better understand where they should target their registration push. The NSLVE report broke down voting data - including registration percents, voting by age group, by race and even by major.

According to NSLVE, business, management, marketing and related support majors had a voter turnout of 8.9 percent in the 2014 midterm election.

Computer, information and library science majors and engineering majors had a voter turnout of 12.5 percent and 7 percent respectively.

Although neither of these groups of majors had the lowest voter turnout (parks and recreation majors won in that regard with a voter turnout of just 6.5 percent), they became the focus of Vote Everywhere for registration during this election cycle.

Vote Everywhere chose these two groups of majors because of their popularity on campus.

Of the class of 2017, 25 percent graduated with a degree from FSB. In the class of 2022 alone, 22 percent of students have already declared an FSB major and 11 percent have declared a CEC major.

"Fields in the bottom three for midterm elections, like parks and recreation, or communications, by comparison, make up a much smaller portion of our student body and, therefore, are not as accessible to change," said Mercer. "Our goal is to get as much of our student body as civically engaged as possible."

Vote Everywhere got FSB and CEC students to register to vote by tabling in their common areas in Benton and Farmer.

"We had the 'activist' tees, which we kind of used as an incentive to register," Mercer said. "If you got registered to vote, you could pick up a tee. We typically have snacks at the table, or swag. We're really just trying to make it appealing to people."

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Vote Everywhere also had tables in King Library and outside of the Hanna House in order to reach as many students as possible.

CEC students received an email from Vote Everywhere on National Voter Registration Day last month to inform them where registration tables would be located.

"Our goal for this year is to have 25 percent of campus turnout in the midterms, which is compared to only 14 percent turnout for the last midterm," Mercer said.

Campus-wide voting data will be released at the beginning of 2019.

carlintm@miamioh.edu

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