Center for Civic Engagement / Political Science

Center for Civic Engagement leads the way on National Voter Registration Day

This screen capture from a new voter registration PSA created by OU students, and OU's recognition from Washington Monthly for being included on their 2020 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll, both showcase Oakland's dedication to engaging students in the electoral process.

Center for Civic Engagement, political science, PSA, voting, voter registration

icon of a calendarSeptember 22, 2020

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Center for Civic Engagement leads the way on National Voter Registration Day
OU Film Studies and Production students created a PSA in collaboration with Political Science and OU's Center for Civic Engagement regarding a push for voter registration. It is another way that OU engages its students in the electoral process.

Oakland University, through its Center for Civic Engagement, is a national leader for inspiring its students to get plugged into the electoral process, registering students to vote and helping them get engaged in the broader political process.

That record of excellence continues this year as OU is included on Washington Monthly’s 2020 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll, an annual list of high-achieving higher education institutions. Oakland also made the list in 2018.

Schools making the list this year earned points by submitting action plans for the 2018 and 2020 election cycle to partners like the ALL IN Democracy Challenge, enrolling in The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) and making their 2016 and 2018 NSLVE data public. OU met all five criteria and has shown a commitment to increasing student voter turnout while being transparent about its results.

Interestingly, college age students are the population segment who are generally the least likely to cast ballots. In 2018, voter turnout among college students was just 40 percent. Even worse, 18- to 29-year-olds nationally voted at a rate of just 35 percent, well behind every other category of voters. However, OU had a student turnout rate of more than 47 percent, which was up over 22 percentage points from 2014. In 2016, OU students voted at a rate of nearly 57 percent, which beat the national average by more than 6 percentage points.

One of the largest complaints among young voters is that they are unsure of how to vote. To address that uncertainty, OU’s Center for Civic Engagement partnered with Film Studies and Production through the Department of English and hired three OU filmmaking majors (Emmanuel Baker, JC Carroll and Raya Ellsberry) to create a public service announcement video this summer that illustrates just how easy it is to register to vote or request an absentee ballot.

Follow this YouTube link to watch the Voter Registration / Absentee Ballot video.

screen capture from PSA video
Screen capture from PSA video that walks
viewers through the process of voter
registration and requesting an
absentee voter ballot.

Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Political Science Professor Dave Dulio commented on the value of the newly created video, “Working on this voter registration/ absentee ballot PSA was important for many reasons. It fits with the CCE's mission to provide information and resources to both the campus and community so, should they choose, individuals can become active participants in the democratic system. The video was also a way to demonstrate that civic engagement work can be relevant to every corner of campus. Relatedly, this was a way to help our Film Studies and Production students continue to hone their skills and have a tangible product to show prospective employers as evidence of their talent.”

Professor Andrea Eis, director of Film Studies and Production, oversaw the students as they worked on the project and added, “This project worked out as well as it did because of the terrific job done by Emmanuel, Raya and JC. The students worked on creating this particular PSA in a style that college students might relate to, in the graphics, the choice of characters, and the informal, sometimes humorous narration. There are some amazingly talented film students on our campus and we appreciate the opportunity for collaborations like this with the Center for Civic Engagement.

The PSA video will be shared until the general election on November 3 through multiple outlets on campus and through partnerships with local media outlets who either run or share links to the video.

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