By Corrin Calderone ‘23
The 2020 Presidential Election is quickly approaching, and everyone is being encouraged to go vote across the nation. Not only will citizens vote for presidential candidates, but they will also vote on important issues pertaining to their home states.
Although in the past younger voters have shown lower levels of voter turnout, the United States Census indicates a shift where college-aged students are becoming more engaged with the politics around them.
According to the Campus Vote Project, Millennials and Generation Z will be the largest pool of eligible voters in the United States at the time of this year’s election. Since Mount Union’s mission is to prepare its students for responsible citizenship, some students on campus are volunteering through different national programs that have partnered with the institution.
For example, the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) has three members on Mount Union’s campus: Jonthan Wahlie ‘21, a political science major of Specerville, Ohio, Jake Penko ‘21, an international affairs and diplomacy and national security and foreign intelligence analysis double major of Seven Hills, Ohio, and Mara Cvelbar ’22, a political science and English double major of Alliance, Ohio.
Wahlie made the decision to join CEEP to make a difference to increase civic engagement. Through CEEP, he and his peers help other students register to vote, educate themselves about candidates, and volunteer in campaigns.
One of Penko’s goals is to get people educated about voting, whether that be teaching them about voting rights or laws, helping them get registered to vote, or requesting an absentee ballot.
“Another goal would be actually increasing voter participation among the campus,” Penko said. “While we can educate them, we also want to make it as simple as possible so everyone can have the chance to vote in this year’s election.”
Mount Union is building on its recently established foundation for civic engagement: the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge selected Mount Union’s plan for civic engagement as one of the top 10 in the country earlier in 2020. Students earning fellowships with outside organizations are a strong component of that planning.
The Campus Vote Project has a Democracy Fellowship program which allows fellows on campus to engage their peers in information about voting, laws and ballot content. Through this organization, Jordan Edith ’23, a political science and pre-law major of Cleveland, Ohio and Armon Cook ’23, a political science major of Akron, Ohio are making voter registration information readily available for students and putting together events to increase interest in voting.
“As a political science major, I’m interested in improving civil engagement and voting habits here on campus,” said Cook. “I think it is important to be engaged in the political process, and to take advantage of rights the people of color and women did not always have.”
Visit mountunion.edu/umu-votes to learn more about campus programming centered around the 2020 Presidential Election and to utilize the tools to be sure your vote is counted.