Sunday, September 26, 2021

MSU ranks 41st in student voting review

October 30, 2020
The MSU Union Art Gallery presents the "2020 Get Out the Vote: Empowering the Women's Vote" poster gallery located on the second floor. The gallery celebrates 100 years since women gained the right to vote. Shot on Oct. 21, 2020.
The MSU Union Art Gallery presents the "2020 Get Out the Vote: Empowering the Women's Vote" poster gallery located on the second floor. The gallery celebrates 100 years since women gained the right to vote. Shot on Oct. 21, 2020. —
Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

A review of 76 of the United States' top colleges found MSU ranks in the lower half in terms of student voting ease, according to a statement from WhoWhatWhy.

MSU has student voting opportunities, but lacks in students actually using them to the full extent, Brinson Elliott, WhoWhatWhy election integrity reporter, said.

In terms of Michigan schools, the review only focused on Michigan State and the University of Michigan, which both received a B grade.

Elliot said a B grade means student voter turnout was between 41% and 48%; however, no school had a rate higher than 68%.

In terms of positive features, both Michigan State and University of Michigan have a variety of on-campus polling locations to accommodate busy students, Elliott said.

The review, which ranked MSU at 41st, was based on criteria affecting student voter turnout such as, according to WhoWhatWhy:

  • Percentage of turnout of student voters, as well as of early student voter turnout
  • Whether photo identification was needed or not
  • The number of on-campus polls
  • If the university ran a voter registration drive
  • The rate of voter registration at the university
  • Whether or not a student identification card was accepted as voter identification

It is important to note data used for the review was based on the 2016 general election and did not factor in changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.

"Every school can improve, and I think the point of this guide is for all of the schools ... being reflective and realizing that regardless of where you stand, there's work to be done," Elliott said. "And that voting can always be made more accessible."

WhoWhatWhy is an independent news site and the review was completed as a part of its Election Integrity Project, according to the statement.

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