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High election-day turnout on campus

Posted 1:23 p.m. Friday, April 7, 2023

UWL vote sticker.

UWL receives Voter Friendly Campus designation   

The stakes were high in Tuesday’s election and so was the voter turnout.  

A high turnout at the state and county level also trickled down to the UWL campus where 1,294 people living on the UWL campus voted compared to only 182 in the April 2022 election. Campus includes city Wards 9 and 10, located between La Crosse and State streets and Campbell Avenue and Lang Drive.  

April 2023 turnout was significantly higher than April 2022 

April 2022 

  • Ward 9 had 78 votes - 12% of registered voters
  • Ward 10 had 104 votes – 17% of registered voters

April 2023 

  • Ward 9 had 598 votes – 54% of registered voters
  • Ward 10 had 696 votes – 59% of registered voters

*These percentages from the city clerk include election-day registrants.  

Almost all of those on-campus votes come from the residence hall student population that is made up of about 3,000 total students living on campus. Amanda Krafft, UWL’s program coordinator for Civic Engagement & Leadership, calls the voter turnout for a spring election “outstanding,” noting UWL often doesn’t see high turnout outside of presidential and midterm elections. 

A higher turnout was projected with Wisconsin’s State Supreme court race and its policy implications, which captured the attention of the country

UWL is working to grow voter participation 

Through campuswide collaborations and creation of new voting resources, UWL staff and students are working to register students early and inform them about civic engagement, says Krafft. The best tool for voting resources has been the myvote.wi.gov website where students can check their voter registration, polling location, and review sample ballots, she adds. 

A campus group, The Election Engagement, was formed and continues to assess the best ways to communicate with students about voter information and upcoming elections. That group includes four Campus Vote Project Fellows: Abi Reiter, Matthew Gast, Alex Wall, and Justin Poley. 

UWL receives Voter Friendly Campus designation  

Vote Here sign at the UWL Student Union in 2020.

UWL received the "Voter Friendly Campus” designation this spring from the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. UWL is one of 258 campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia to receive the recognition for campuses that have planned and implemented practices that encourage their students to register and vote in the 2022 elections and in coming years.   

UWL has made a strong statement about our civic mission to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is eager to continue engaging students through 2023, 2024, and beyond, says Amanda Krafft.  

“Incorporating civic engagement into the college experience creates the opportunities for students to explore their political beliefs and how they would like to engage with the democratic process as a citizen,” notes Krafft. “It is not merely if we as a campus should be concerned with whether students vote or not, but rather how are we equipping students with the resources and information to make a plan to vote, and how are we as an institution protecting students' right to vote.”


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