CBS Democracy Project

words "Democracy Project Circle" surrounded by science icons, including microscopes, field work gear, and safety glasses“Our ultimate objective in learning about anything is to try to create and develop a more just society than we have seen.” -Yuri Kochiyama

Often there is a disconnect between science and civic engagement. As humans and as scientists, we create knowledge and research that will impact our local and global communities and as a result must take time to understand both the science itself, but also the communities being impacted by the science. This knowledge should then be utilized to inform and influence policies, program funding, and approaches to solving problems impacting our communities.  

One way that you can do this is by engaging in the political process by supporting candidates and voting. Despite the fact that science is on the ballot in every election, only 43.6% of STEM students voted in 2016, lower than students studying within any other academic field. Your vote matters and has power! Use it to support candidates in local, state, and national elections who foster and promote scientific discovery and policy solutions that are rooted in scientific fact. To learn more about how to be an informed and engaged member of the community, check out the resources below.

 

Get Registered

The University of Minnesota partners with TurboVote to provide all eligible students with the resources to participate in elections. Through this site, students from any state can register to vote, check the status of their registration, request a mail-in ballot, and set up voting reminders.

Remember, different states have different rules and deadlines for voter registration, so make sure to act early to ensure you can participate.

Get Informed

It is critical that before you cast your vote, you take the time to understand what you are voting on and who you are voting for! Some great resources to help with this include: 

  1. Learn about who is on your ballot, compare the candidates, and see what proposals you will be voting on by visiting Ballot Ready Ballot Ready also allows you to email your selections to yourself in order to access them while voting.
  2. Research individual candidates and ballot measures using BallotPedia.
  3. Visit AllSides to examine how bias may impact the information you read from various news sources.
  4. See how elected officials have voted on recent bills by visiting Causes. Through this website you can look up information by individual or see how everyone voted on issues that may be important to you such as the environment or healthcare.

Cast Your Vote

When it comes time to vote, you have two options as to how to cast your ballot:

In-Person Voting

Every registered voter has the opportunity to go to their polling place in person on election day and complete their ballot.

  1. Before going to vote, take some time to make sure that you know your rights as a voter.
  2. Many states also offer in-person early voting, if that is more accessible for you. You do not need an excuse to vote early.

Absentee Voting

Every state also offers mail-in absentee ballots, but rules vary by state. Some states automatically send every resident an absentee ballot, while others will only offer absentee ballots to individuals who are able to provide justification as to why they are unable to go in person.

  1. For students who wish to vote from their hometown, but will not be there physically on election day, this is a great option.
  2. Students voting absentee in the state of Minnesota election do not need a witness signature for the 2020 election. You can also check the status of your ballot here.