An all-out effort by student leaders on social media reaped big benefits at the U this fall, as close to 9,600 students registered to vote—the largest number by far from among the 14 universities in the Big Ten Conference.
In September, the Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) launched the Vote Big campaign, a movement to increase civic engagement in the Big Ten. University of Minnesota student Will Damman, a member of the ABTS executive board, led the U’s efforts, which included advertising the availability of online registration via Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and other platforms. Online registration was done on the website of the nonprofit TurboVote.
The U’s tally dwarfs the count at all other schools in the conference. Gopher rivals Wisconsin and Iowa limped in at about 2,000 and 3,500, respectively, while Maryland, the school with the second highest number of registrations, came in at about 4,500. In all, more than 35,000 students registered throughout the Big Ten.
The U’s results are consistent with a surge in voter registrations throughout the state. Minnesota saw a record-breaking 73,478 voters preregister online on October 17, shattering the previous one-day record of about 27,000 online voter registrations, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. Student Jared Finnerty is pictured here voting on campus November 8.