NEWS

On-campus voting offers CMU community access to democratic process

Powers Hall provides location for casting in-person early voting ballots

| Author: Eric Baerren | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

Central Michigan University is bringing early in-person voting to campus for February’s presidential primary election as part of its mission to prepare students for responsible global citizenship.

Early in-person voting will take place for all voters registered in Mount Pleasant and Union Township in Powers Hall 136 starting on Feb. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Michigan’s presidential primary election. It concludes on Feb. 25.

Improved access to early in-person voting was made possible through an agreement between CMU, the City of Mount Pleasant and Union Township.

Students living in Mount Pleasant and Union Township can register to vote in the local jurisdiction they reside in and cast ballots on campus during early voting. In addition to the presidential primary, voters will cast ballots on two local proposals.

Providing on-campus in-person early voting removes a hurdle that keeps many students from participating in elections.

“Most students are registered to vote at their permanent home address, which may be several hours or more away from campus,” Erica Johnson, director of the CMU Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, previously said. “Many are unable to get back to their home voting site on election day to cast their ballot, either due to lack of transportation, class or work schedules, or simply the time it takes to get there.”

Providing on-campus early in-person voting also fulfills a core mission of higher education in helping students develop skills they need to actively participate in a democratic society.

Between 11-18 percent of students don’t register to vote, said Symantha Datillo, assistant director of the volunteer center.

CMU has sought to boost student participation in elections in recent years. It was designated a Voter Friendly Campus for the third year in a row in 2023. The university also received two grants in 2022 to help those efforts.