Big Ten Student Group Scores With Voter Registration Drive

The Association of Big Ten Students' Vote B1G campaign topped its goal in a voter registration drive this fall—twice. The association says that students have shown enthusiasm to vote this year, but that such interest should go beyond the top of the ticket.

Football isn’t the only big thing happening in the Big Ten this fall.

The biggest news, in fact, might be seen on the voter rolls come November 8. And that’s thanks in large part to the help of a student association.

The Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) this year launched the Vote B1G campaign, an effort to encourage students to register and to then vote in the current election—no matter the party.

“Civic engagement is critical for democracy to thrive, and voting is one of the simplest and most important ways we take part in the democratic process,” the campaign’s website states. “Voting is necessary for the health of our society, but not enough college students do it. The Association of Big Ten Students hopes for this to change.”

ABTS set a goal of 10,000 registrations for the schools throughout the Big Ten system—and then changed that goal to 30,000 after deciding that its initial goal was too modest. Now, the association is ahead of even that total: The Daily Northwestern reports that the association has topped 32,000 signups as of Tuesday morning.

Ross Krasner, ABTS’ public relations director and a student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, suggested that the success was largely due to high student interest.

“One of the reasons this was so successful is because it’s such a consequential election for students, especially,” he told the student paper. “People were really enthusiastic to go out and register to vote.”

Meanwhile, in a Huffington Post blog post, University of Iowa Student Body President Rachel Zuckerman argued that, for students, the initiative matters far beyond the top of the ticket this year.

“Much of our influence will be at the state level. As some state legislatures continue to cut funding to higher education, some college students have been saddled with debt that hinders their ability to buy a new car, build their dream home or start a small business,” Zuckerman wrote last week. “If students are mobilized, we have the power to elect legislators that will reverse the trend of cutting higher education investments and work to make sure every child has the opportunity to affordably attend a Big Ten institution.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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