Minnesota College Students Could Impact Election Results
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Thousands of University of Minnesota students will likely vote in the upcoming midterm election, a move that could impact key districts that may determine the makeup of Congress next year.
Political experts, campaign organizers and student activists have said voter turnout could play a major role in some of the tight races across Minnesota, the Minnesota Daily reported. Many students are planning to vote in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, which is near the campus area and one of many competitive districts.
The 2nd District is home to a close race between Republican Rep. Jason Lewis and Democrat opponent Angie Craig. There are about 6,800 students in the university system from the 2nd District.
Ben Allard, vice president of the university student group College Democrats, said he wanted to vote for Craig in his home district because of how close the race is.
"I know more about my home district. I feel more connected there. And the stakes are higher," Allard, 20, said.
Michael Geiger, a member of Students for a Conservative Voice, said he plans to vote for Lewis in his hometown, New Prague, regardless of how close the city is to campus.
"There's just somewhat of a sort of arbitrary civic pride in voting where I grew up," he said.
Student activists and campaigners are hoping that efforts targeting the university vote will increase young voter turnout in the election.
More than 9,500 students across the university system registered to vote this year, according to Mike Miller, the school's advocacy coordinator.
"This year, more than usual, students are definitely aware of the races taking place here in Minneapolis and the races that are taking place back home," said Christina Laridaen, a second-year student who helped register voters on campus. "Students are ... starting to realize that sitting out isn't really an option anymore."
Larry Jacobs, the director of the university's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, said that high turnout among college students would likely boost Democrats' chances of winning in Minnesota.
"The youth vote will make that difference," Jacobs said. "If youth turn out, they could very well swing these districts."
Democrats would need to flip 23 seats in order to gain control of Congress.