Story by Brendon Donoho / Contributing Writer
Tennessee Secretary of State, Tre Hargett, announced recently that Middle Tennessee State University, Northeast State Community College and Carson-Newman University are the winners of this year’s Tennessee College Voter Registration Competition.
The competition took place in September in honor of National Voter’s Registration Month and included 48 schools from all over the state. MTSU was named the top four-year public college/university in the competition.
More than 2,000 students were registered across Tennessee during the month, 381 of which came from MTSU.
“Participation in the electoral process is essential to strong citizenship,” said Secretary Hargett. “I’m grateful for the nearly 50 Tennessee colleges and universities that participated in our annual competition.”
MTSU also continues its ongoing “True Blue Voter” initiative, a partnership with the Rutherford County Election Commission launched last year to boost voter registration and awareness in time for the 2018 mid-term elections. The effort, with the help of the American Democracy Project and the MTSU Student Government Association, has added hundreds of new voters to the rolls so far.
A September report based on the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement shows that nationwide, the voting rates at participating college campuses doubled on average compared to the previous 2014 midterm.
Voting rates among MTSU students was up more than 150 percent in 2018 and now nearly matches the national average. The school hopes to continue this upward trend with the “True Blue Voter” initiative.
Rutherford County Election Commission Administrator, Alan Farley, said that he believes the county’s implementation of Convenient Vote Centers, allowing voters to cast ballots at numerous locations throughout the county regardless of where they lived, also helped drive more participation by making it easier to vote.
Evins added “What’s wonderful is the noteworthy increase from four years ago. The youth vote increased nationally, and MTSU was part of that national surge.”
Tennessee’s 2020 election season kicks off March 3, “Super Tuesday,” with presidential preference, state and county primaries. State and federal primary and county general elections are set Aug. 6, 2020, and the state and federal general election, which includes the presidential race, is set Nov. 3, 2020.
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