University of Wisconsin students placed second in the Big Ten Voting Challenge for the 2018 midterm elections.
The Big Ten Voting Challenge was created in 2017. It’s a nonpartisan initiative in which 14 universities of the Big Ten Conference compete to see who has the highest voter turnout.
UW saw an increase in voter turnout from 35.6% in 2014 to 52.9% in 2018, ASM press office director Matthew Mitnick said.
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“This is something that is really encouraging,” Mitnick said. “Increased voter turnout means that more people are paying attention and more people are being civically engaged.”
Mitnick said ASM has been working on creating positive messaging and reaching out to students to help them understand what ASM is.
Mitnick said ASM worked with many other groups last year, including the Morgridge Center for Public Service on improving voter turnout.
“This is attributed to everyone’s efforts, but it’s just encouraging back towards ASM in the sense that we have a campus that is engaged,” Mitnick said. “It tells us that students care.”
UW also received a platinum seal at the ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony for achieving a student voter turnout of above 50%. This challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative that supports and recognizes colleges and universities who make a commitment to increase student voter turnout.
ALL IN presents seals and awards to participating colleges and universities that achieve benchmarks and high rates in student voter turnout. The initiative hopes to help students form habits of active and informed citizenship and increase democratic engagement on campuses, according to their website.
For the 2018 election, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities took the top spot for highest voter turnout, the UW news release said.
The BIG TEN challenge will continue for the 2020 election and top universities will receive trophies, including one for highest voter turnout and one for most improved voter turnout compared to 2016, the UW news release said.