Participants Sought For New Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force

College students with ideas on how to increase voter participation among young voters are being sought to serve on a new state task force.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recently announced the formation of the Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force and roughly 20 to 25 students will be selected from colleges, community colleges and universities around the state to serve on it. Any student attending a two or four year program is encouraged to apply. Participants will advise on the unique challenges encountered by voters ages 18 to 24 and recommend a series of programmatic, administrative or policy changes to address identified barriers.

Benson tells WHMI passage of the “Promote the Vote” constitutional amendment last November is what spurred the new task force, which created more opportunities for people to register to vote and cast their ballot. She says citizens can vote by mail without having to state a reason and anyone can register to vote up to and on Election Day. Benson says they are creating a first ever task force to advise the department on how they can ensure they’re bringing diverse perspectives to the table and really listening to college students to better serve them. She says the task force will primarily make recommendations to improve voter engagement among college students, stressing they want it to be non-partisan and are looking for many diverse perspectives. Benson noted there are certainly unique barriers that college students face and they want to hear those varying perspectives and what it means as it relates to access to voting.

Task force members will be selected by members of the Department of State’s Election Modernization Advisory Committee and Secretary of State staff Leadership. The task force will meet three times this fall between September and November in locations throughout the state, with final recommendations submitted to Benson in November. Travel expenses will be reimbursed. Applicants must fill out an online application and submit their resumes, demonstrating a commitment to voting, enthusiasm for the work and the ability to engage with the Secretary of State’s Office and their communities through the November 2020 election. In 2020, students will work with the Secretary of State’s Office as civic engagement liaisons to their respective campuses. Applications are due by 3pm on Tuesday, September 3rd. A link to the application and more information is provided. (JM)

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