Gustavus Wins Inaugural Minnesota College Ballot Bowl

Sixty-three percent of the College's students registered to vote, winning the Minnesota Secretary of State's inaugural Ballot Bowl.
Posted on December 20th, 2016 by

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon visited a Gustavus political science class last spring.

Gustavus Adolphus College was recently named a winner of the inaugural Minnesota College Ballot Bowl, a voter registration competition led by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in which campuses across the state competed to register the most students to vote in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Sixty-three percent of Gustavus students registered to vote during the Ballot Bowl, a mark that was 24 percent higher than the second-place college.

“I believe that Gustavus students were active in this process not only because they wanted to exercise their rights as citizens, but also because they understood the greater impact of the election for a variety of people and policies at both the local and national level,” Gustavus Student Senate Co-President Herchran Singh ’17 said.

The contest, which consisted of 68 colleges and universities from across the state, ran from the first day of classes through October 18. Gustavus ranked first among all Minnesota colleges and universities in student participation with 63 percent and was also first among private colleges and universities in total students registered with 1,318.

“Gustavus students are very active in the community, which allows us to gain perspective about the things we care about, and how our decisions effect others. By engaging in conversations about politics for the sake of learning, sharing personal thoughts and beliefs, and voting, Gusties show that they understand the importance of civic engagement and their responsibility to their community,” Singh explained.

Several efforts led to the high turnout at Gustavus, including a successful voter education and registration table in the Jackson Campus Center, televised debate viewing parties, and an on-campus debate between student political organizations.

“Gustavus students understand the role they play as citizens in the democratic process and they care about their community,” Gustavus Vice President for Student Life JoNes VanHecke said. “Students from our Voter Education Committee worked collaboratively not only to ‘get out the vote’ but to provide their peers with great educational programming throughout the election season.”

“Thanks to the hard work done by student leaders across the state more Minnesotans than ever were registered to vote before Election Day, and Minnesota’s voter turnout of 74.72 percent is likely to be number one in the nation,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a release. “It’s important we continue to get good habits started early with young Minnesotans and I look forward to working with campus leaders to find new and innovative ways to increase civic engagement.”

Secretary Simon will present student leaders with a Ballot Bowl award in early 2017.

To learn more about the Minnesota College Ballot Bowl and see the results, visit the Secretary of State’s Ballot Bowl webpage.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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