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NIU signs 100% student voter registration and participation pledge

July 6, 2020

Northern Illinois University has joined more than 160 colleges committed to full student voter registration and participation in all elections through the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.

A nonpartisan, national initiative, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge aims to substantially increase the number of college students who are democratically engaged on an ongoing basis, during and between elections, and not just at the polls.

ALL IN and its Higher Education Presidents Council launched a call to action for higher education presidents and chancellors to fully engage students in electoral participation.

By signing the pledge, NIU President Lisa Freeman committed to ensuring all eligible students are able to register to vote and cast informed ballots in the 2020 general election and beyond.

As part of the pledge, universities are encouraged to foster campus cultures that support nonpartisan student civic learning, political engagement and student voter participation.

A steering committee of faculty, students, staff, administrators and community members at NIU have developed a comprehensive action plan designed to increase student registration and participation rates in the 2020 election.

Along with encouraging students to register and vote, Huskies Vote provides resources on why voting matters, where to vote, candidate information and more.

“I am impressed with the action plan developed by the steering committee and excited about moving it forward when our students return to campus in the fall,” said Freeman, Ph.D.  “Encouraging strong civic and political engagement habits in our students is one way that NIU contributes to a well-functioning democracy.  It is imperative that students—whatever their political beliefs—make their voices heard. That is why I was happy to sign the pledge”

While college student voter participation in elections increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election, less than half of college students made their voices heard by casting their ballots. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%.

“Today, young people are truly seeing how the decisions their elected officials make impact their everyday lives, and in this critical time, ensuring that they are able to make their voices heard safely is critical,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.

“We are excited to partner with higher education leaders across the country to change the culture at colleges and universities around engagement in our country’s political process. We are calling on all college presidents to make this commitment to their students, campuses and communities.”

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge recognizes and supports campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation.

More than 650 campuses, enrolling more than 7.5 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.