State of Michigan Recognizes MCC for Student Voter Registration Efforts

Michigan Collegiate Voting Challenge

Muskegon Community College has been recognized by the State of Michigan as one of 34 campuses across the state for its participation in in the 2020 Michigan Collegiate Voting Challenge.

“I commend you for your leadership and applaud your efforts to engage and empower your campus community to make their voices heard,” wrote Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan Secretary of State, in a March 26 letter to MCC President Dale K. Nesbary.

“Your commitment to encourage and drive youth voter participation – even in the face of the enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic – is a tremendous achievement. Thanks to your efforts alongside other participating higher education institutions across the state, you helped Michigan reach historic and inspiring levels of youth voter turnout in the November 2020 election.”

Later this year, the Michigan Department of State will host the first-ever Michigan Collegiate Voting Challenge awards ceremony, which will follow the national ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Awards Ceremony currently scheduled for November 2021. Award recipients will be determined for both national and statewide awards based on student participation data and specific campus reports from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). This comprehensive data analysis is not expected until later this year.

Two-year and four-year higher education institutions will be honored for high campus voter turnout, most improved campus voter turnout, and high student voter registration rate.

MCC has been involved with the NSLVE in actively encouraging student voter participation for several years. Between 2014 and 2018, MCC doubled its student voting rate from 18.9% to 38.5%.

“When I was advising the MCC Student Government, I trained the students each year in how to properly register new voters,” said Eli Fox, now an institutional research analyst at the College. “The SGA then chose to hold multiple events on campus to register MCC students to vote. These were highly successful during the Jayhawk Frenzy, when we saw hundreds of students in just a few days. In 2018, the students also won a mini #WatchMuskegonVote grant from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County to support these efforts.”

“As a former political science professor and campaign worker, I am extremely gratified to see that the work done by you, our students, and your colleagues led to increased voter participation,” noted Nesbary.

NSLVE is a signature initiative of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. IDHE is an applied research center focused on college and university student political learning and participation in democracy. IDHE researchers study voting, campus conditions for political learning and discussion, closing equity gaps in participation, and increasing student agency and participation.

Since NSLVE’s launch in 2013, more than 1,100 colleges and universities have signed up to receive their voting rates for the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 federal elections.