HUSC talks voter turnout

HUSC’s President and Vice President discuss voter turnout in the Hamline community, for campus elections and beyond.

Kelly Holm, senior reporter

This fall’s HUSC elections are now complete, with 502 students voting, according to HUSC President Liam Davis Temple. While this figure, representing less than a quarter of the student body, might pale in comparison to spring 2018’s turnout of 859 students, Davis Temple says that this is the highest fall turnout HUSC has ever had.

“There’s more candidates that ran. There were nine first-year candidates that ran for three spots,” Davis Temple said. “We see more [turnout] in the spring because there’s more lead-up to it. It’s not the beginning of the year, every position is open and there’s president and vice president, so there’s more hype, and then there’s more people running.”

HUSC Vice President Ikram Mohamud highlighted the impact of encouraging others to vote.

“You get your friends to vote, and your friends’ friends… The more people that run, the more people will be likely to vote,” Mohamud said.

Despite this year’s record high turnout, Davis Temple and Mohamud know their work is far from done in boosting their fellow students’ civic engagement.

“For the spring, part of it is getting good candidates to run,” Davis Temple said. “Last spring we had the highest turnout we had ever had as well, and it was ‘cause there [were] three really good president and vice president teams and other good reps running… We try to do things like have voting in Anderson for as long as possible, have some of our people tabling. We try to have debates, because a comment that people have made, at least when I was tabling this fall, is ‘well, I don’t know any of the candidates’, and so the more we can educate people on who’s running, the more likely they are to vote.”

HUSC has also incorporated physical incentives into their voter turnout strategy, giving out water bottles to voters in the fall and T-shirts in the spring. This year, for the first time ever, HUSC elections were included as a Throwdown event.

Davis Temple and Mohamud are not just focusing on campus elections, however, but are working on encouraging Hamline students to vote in the November midterm elections as well.

“I think it seems like the new incoming students are more engaged… there’s probably a connection between being engaged in your college and outside. HUSC will do a lot of non-partisan voter turnout work. We will work with the Wesley Center on that,” Davis Temple said.

On the morning of Sunday, Sept. 23, Davis Temple knocked on doors in Manor Hall as part of independent volunteer work and registered six new people to vote.

“HUSC will hopefully table with the Wesley Center and register people to vote. In the past we’ve had vans that’ll drive people from Hamline to the polling place.”

Mohamud recalled voter registration being promoted at the student org fair earlier this month as well.

“There was a lady that was really nice that had a table, she was just exclusively at the org fair to get people to register,” Mohamud said.

Overall, the mood was optimistic about Hamline students’ future voting patterns, as Davis Temple concluded.

“It seems like people are engaged, and I think people are ready to vote, and the climate around campus is people want to have their voice heard, at Hamline and outside.”