BENTON HARBOR — Lake Michigan College has been named a Voter Friendly Campus by the national, nonpartisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).
LMC is one of 258 campuses in 38 states, and the District of Columbia recognized for planning and implementing practices encouraging students to register and vote in the 2022 elections and coming years.
“Being recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus for four consecutive years is a testament to the commitment LMC has for civic engagement,” said LMC Political Science Faculty member Tiffany Bohm, who helped spearhead the effort. “Students from across campus and disciplines get involved in educating and mobilizing their peer group. We also work collaboratively with our community organizations like the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties, American Association of University Women and Voters Not Politicians on nonpartisan issues.”
The 2023 Voter Friendly Campus designation aims to bolster colleges’ and universities’ efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. LMC was evaluated based on a written plan by LMC Votes! on how to register, educate, and turn out student voters in 2022, how to facilitate voter engagement efforts on campus, and a final analysis of those efforts. The designation is valid through 2024.
As part of the effort to be designated a Voter Friendly Campus, LMC held seven voter registration drives on all three campuses, registering a record 125 new voters for the 2022 election.
LMC students and volunteers joined members of the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass County and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to help citizens register to vote on National Voter Registration Day. LMC received donations and mini-grants from national organizations to help support campus efforts. Pizza to the Polls also supplied pizzas at a registration event in the Hawk’s Nest.
LMC’s efforts have shown significant growth in voter turnout. For example, LMC’s voting rate was 34.1 percent in 2018, up 17.1 percent from 2014, according to a report by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). In 2020, LMC saw 1,180 students vote, an increase of 395, with 61 percent of students ages 18-21 voting.
Institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, and urban campuses, collectively serving over 3.5 million students. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes 49 Minority Serving Institutions and 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and 41 Community Colleges.
For more information about the Voter Friendly Campus designation for 2023-2024, visit voter friendlycampus.org.