For years, voting was seen as a privilege not a right. In the United States today, after much struggle, voting is a right. However, that doesn’t always mean everyone has the same level of awareness that an election is taking place. Every election year, it's on MPIRG's to remind them, many, many times. That’s how it works!
Starting with phase one (Welcome Week until the last day of pre-registration), the UMTC chapter held tabling events and clip boarded throughout both Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses including residence halls and classrooms to register and pledge students to vote in the 2013 Municipal Elections. Municipal Elections tend to slip through the cracks of the schedules of young people. So the registration and the pledging act as a first point of contact. The educational events, Voterpalooza and the Mayoral Candidate Forum, served as second and third points of contact and brought Elected Officials and candidates to campus.
Phase two consisted of data entry. So much data entry. It was a necessary, albeit tedious, phase of the process. Enough said on that.
After entering the data from the collected pledge cards, MPIRG – UMTC entered phase three, Get Out The Vote! Beginning with phone banking, MPIRGers called everyone that registered and pledged to vote as a reminder of the upcoming elections, information on the new voting system ranked choice voting, and a personal poll finder. That was point of contact number four. The week before the election, the pledge cards (which doubled as post cards) were sent back with the addition of their polling locations as point of contact number five. A couple days before the election, students had a visibility day where they chalked and posted flyers all over campus. The day before, they knocked on thousands of dorm doors and had in person conversations and voting. Those were points of contact six and seven.
Finally, Election Day arrived. 26 volunteers went out to Dinky Town and Como neighborhoods to knock doors with voter information. Here are some statistics of the successful election process:
· MPIRG registered and pledged number of 2619.
· In total, MPIRG – TC knocked on 4,641 doors and talked to 1,619 people.
· As a result, compared to the 2009 Municipal elections, the voter turnout in the student neighborhoods tripled this year.
The numbers speak for themselves. GOTV works!
MPIRG Communications Intern