Kalamazoo college is being recognized by ALL IN Democracy Challenge and Civic Nation with a “platinum seal” in voter turnout for the 2020 election, with a 93.4% voter registration rate and 83.7% voter turnout rate among students. We are proud of the incredible work that made this possible organized by K Votes student Civic Engagement Scholars (CES) and then-Assistant Director of the CCE, Emily Kowey (K 17).
K Votes, a non-partisan student-led program of the Center for Civic Engagement, is focused on educating and spreading awareness about voting and elections on K’s campus. One of the student CESs, Mahum Khan (K 24), who is also a Campus Vote Project democracy fellow, says, “Our main goal this past election was to institutionalize voting and voting engagement on our campus, and I think the 2020 NSLVE data provides a good representation of our ability to reach that goal in the efforts we made.” K Votes worked in partnership with their student peers, the local League of Women Voters, and the national organization, Rock the Vote, whose Executive Director is Caroline DeWitt (K 04).
K Votes CES Kaitlyn Dexter says, “It was hard being off campus, but we made virtual connections across campus to get the word out. Some of those collaborations were with the Campus Vote Project, PIRGIM, and the College’s office of Outdoor Programs.” Khan added, “These collaborations allowed students to bike to the polls, learn about voter registration and how to vote, and overall increased the College’s turnout.”
Although, K’s 2020 registration and voting rates considerably exceed the national average for students in college and university, the rate of student voting participation is higher at K for white students than for BIPOC students—and this is a gap we need to address. It is through continued collaborations and awareness work that we are able to educate globally active citizens.