Two CMU students selected to join Secretary of State youth voting task force


The Mount Pleasant Secretary of State office sits at 1245 N Mission St. Sept. 24, 2019.

Two Central Michigan University students were selected Sept. 19 to be part of the Secretary of State’s Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force – a “first-of-its-kind effort to empower the next generation of voters.” 

Student Government Association President Jake Hendricks and Dearborn junior Adam Abusalah will join 31 Michigan college students to consider how to get those between 18-24 into the ballot boxes through “administrative, programmatic and legislative changes or initiatives.” 

The task force will meet in Lansing three times between September and November to generate a list of recommendations for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to consider. Afterward, task force members will act as “student engagement liaisons” on their campuses, receiving “updated voting information and tools” from the Secretary of State’s office.

Voter turnout rose across all demographics in the 2018 midterm elections, according to the United States Census Bureau. Turnout notably rose among 18- to 29-year-olds to 36 percent – a 79 percent increase from 2014’s midterm election. 

Last year, SGA and the Academic Senate passed resolutions to encourage excused absences for student voters and more thoughtful scheduling of exams, presentations and other large assignments around election days. State legislation followed suit with the passage of Proposal 3 on last year’s ballot, which amended Michigan’s constitution to protect voting rights including automatic registration and no-reason absentee voting.

“There are many issues that students face today, and we need to express our right to vote on issues like funding for higher education,” Hendricks said. College students aren’t often encouraged to vote by their friends and families, Hendricks added, and through programs and initiatives, students who haven’t voted before can be given the resources to make their voices heard.