Welcome to the Big Ten Voting Challenge

Dear Students:

The right to vote is one of our most powerful freedoms, and participation in elections is essential for a democratic society. Voting in elections gives you a voice in the decisions that affect local, state, and national issues.

I am pleased to announce that all 14 universities in Big Ten Conference are joining together for the Big Ten Voting Challenge, a nonpartisan competition that seeks to increase voter registration and turnout among students on all of our campuses. I invite you to take part and help the University of Michigan – and our society – win.

The first step to voting is getting registered, and our Ginsberg Center has partnered with TurboVote for information and resources to help you register to vote.

Our nation’s celebration of Constitution Day offers a timely reminder that students are typically underrepresented at the polls. Voter turnout for people under age 30 is historically low as compared with other segments of the population, especially in midterm elections. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, only 21 percent of those under 30 turned out to vote in 2014, compared with 36 percent overall. Turnout on university campuses across the country was even lower, at just 19 percent.

The Big Ten Voting Challenge is one way we can change those numbers. Our democracy thrives best when all voices are represented, and students can play an integral role in shaping our collective future. After the 2018 election, trophies will go to two universities – the one with the highest eligible voter turnout and the one with the most improved turnout. I hope you will join this effort by getting involved, getting registered, voting, and encouraging others to do the same!

More information on the Big Ten Voting Challenge is available from the Ginsberg Center.

Throughout the history of the Big Ten Conference, we have seen that competition brings out the best in our students. I invite all University of Michigan students to get involved, represent your generation at the polls, and Go Blue!


Mark Schlissel