‘All In’ for Democracy

‘All In’ for Democracy

By Genesis Cosme

‘All In’ for Democracy

By Genesis Cosme
For doubling the number of student voters in the 2018 midterm election, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge granted the University of Miami its Silver Seal Award

In 2018, the University of Miami and the student-led Get Out The Vote (GOTV) initiative submitted an action plan to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. Their goal: getting the University community more engaged in democracy by increasing student voter turnout rates during the 2018 midterm election.

At the end of the campaign, GOTV successfully registered 1,051 students and, at 38.8 percent, the student voter rate in 2018 more than doubled compared to 2014. This feat granted the University of Miami with ALL IN’s Silver Seal, which is awarded to campuses with 30-39 percent voter participation.

Since its launch in summer 2016, more than 560 campuses have joined the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. Aimed at promoting an inclusive democracy where all voices are heard, the nationally recognized, nonpartisan initiative empowers schools to get students engaged and to change civic culture among young Americans.

“I believe it is and always has been important for institutions of higher learning to cultivate a sense of civic responsibility among the campus community,” said Andrew Wiemer, director of the Butler Center for Service and Leadership and GOTV’s advisor. “We have the opportunity to continue supporting the growth and development of our students by increasing their own civic responsibility and impacting the next generation of civic leaders.”

STUDENT VOTERS AT A GLANCE:

  • 2,258 on-campus residents cast their ballots in 2018
  • 89 percent increase in students who early voted between 2014 and 2018
  • 211 percent increase in first-year student voters – the largest increase by class year from 2014 to 2018
GOTV's graduate, law and undergraduate chairs
Get Out The Vote begins its outreach to graduate and law students in Spring 2020. From left to right: graduate chair John Ness, law chair Jessica Gomez, and undergraduate chair Albany Muria.

“One of Get Out The Vote’s most important roles is getting first-year students registered to vote,” said Albany Muria, junior public administration major and GOTV chair. “It’s really important for young people to be involved in politics because the decisions that we vote on now will affect us our whole life. Helping our peers get registered to vote at the beginning will help keep this on their mind throughout their four years at college.”

As the Butler Center for Service and Leadership and GOTV celebrate this award, they look forward to developing an even stronger civic culture on campus in the years to come. With the 2020 presidential election on the horizon,  GOTV’s focus shifts to voter education, absentee voting, and expanding the initiative to graduate and law students. 

“We want students to know what the next step after registering to vote is, where to vote, and where to get accurate, non-partisan information on national issues and for each candidate,” Muria said. “Our main goal will be to provide a platform to encourage political dialogue in a respectful manner, not only between political organizations but all students around campus.”

To connect with GOTV and to learn more about civic participation on campus, visit miami.edu/vote.