Belmont University was placed on the Washington Monthly magazine’s list of Best Colleges for Student Voting. This adds to the achievements Belmont has earned as a campus committed to championing student body voting participation.
The University was designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus” in the spring of 2021 as a result of its strategic efforts to motivate and mobilize the student body to vote amidst a challenging voting season that was impacted by restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. The campus was announced the winner of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Award later the same year in November.
“Part of the credit goes to the work of student voting organizers, who mobilized young Americans to register and cast ballots despite the pandemic and restrictive voting laws,” Washington Monthly stated in its rankings release. “This includes small, student-led groups that work to get their peers to the polls, as well as national organizations like the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which helps colleges develop registration and turnout plans.”
The young adult population has historically been criticized for its lack of voter turnout, but trends are improving as concerted efforts like the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and Rock the Vote events aim to keep the 18-to-29-year-old population active at the polls.
The Washington Monthly added a student voting measure to its annual college rankings in 2018 to incentivize support from college administration toward student voting efforts. Since 2019, the monthly has published an honor roll of colleges based on self-reported voting data. Belmont’s voter registration rate is above 85 percent and made the honor roll this year.
With Constitution Day on Sept. 17 and National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 20, the month of September marks a significant opportunity to employ continued voting efforts. Belmont’s Student Government Association plans to roll out new voter registration and education initiatives during the month of September with a strong desire to maintain its “Voter Friendly Campus” status.
“Civic engagement and voter education will be a top priority for our Student Government this fall,” senior psychology major and SGA parliamentarian Jada Ralston said. “With important civic holidays, such as National Voter Registration Day just around the corner, we plan to host a number of events to promote the significance of voting. Specifically, we will be focusing on voter registration and turnout. Our committee will act as a catalyst for the student body’s civic engagement.”