Election preparedness

An arch above Saginaw Road reads Flint vehicle city with American flags lining the border.

Our votes matter in our communities.

Kaitlyn Bergman, Writer

University of Michigan-Flint students experienced many opportunities to gain election preparedness leading up to the 2022 United States midterm elections. Before ballots, and without heated discourse, nonpartisan groups encouraged all in our community to vote.


Several events were held on campus to raise voting awareness and to help voters prepare to cast their ballots. 


Events included the Election Preparedness Town Hall, which featured speakers from UM-Flint, Kettering University and even secretary of state Jocelyn Benson. Chancellor Dutta also spoke, noting that by voting “we have a voice, and that’s not given in all countries” and how “voting is not just a privilege, it is an obligation.”


Student Government president T.J. Brooks talked about how the legal language of voting may pose a barrier to those who aren’t familiar enough to easily comprehend what is being discussed. Therefore, nonpartisan groups, such as the ones available on the UM-Flint campus, help to break those barriers and assist student voters in their participation with democracy. 


One of these groups is the University of Michigan’s Turn Up Turnout which aims to “increase voter education, registration, and turnout in presidential, midterm, and local elections regardless of political affiliation.”


A copy of UM-Flint’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement campus report was given to all in attendance. It contained the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education’s report on the University’s student voting statistics in 2014, 2018 and 2020. It mentions how “elections may be episodic, but student engagement in democracy should not be.”


As options such as absentee voting become more accessible, students are able to vote far more conveniently. They are able either vote in their home district, or register with their student address. The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education’s report also showed that both registration and voting have increased each election for UM-Flint students since 2014. 4,065 students voted in 2020 compared to 2,996 in 2018. 


More rallying before the election took place in the Flint Farmers Market on October 28th. Dan Kildee, Representative of Michigan’s 5th Congressional District; Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General; Kyra Harris Bolden, Michigan Supreme Court Candidate; Mallory McMorrow, Michigan State Senator for the 13th District; and Mike Behm, running for re-election to the University of Michigan Board of Regents, all spoke at the Flint Farmers Market on October 28. A discussion of what was at stake for the election ensued, with a group of around 100 coming together.


Governor Whitmer also spoke at the event, mentioning how we shouldn’t “assume people have a plan to vote,” we should “help show them how”. With organizations such as dinners for democracy and turn up turnout, UM-Flint students have access to assistance on campus or virtually to gain election preparedness year-round.