While international students, like other non-U.S. citizens, cannot vote in the midterm elections on November 6th, you can participate in other ways.
You can talk to members of the campus community who are eligible to vote and learn about issues that affect higher education in general and international students in particular. Many campus conversations will touch on the election this fall, so learning about the issues, the candidates, and the outcomes offers you an opportunity to connect with others on campus and deepen your understanding of U.S. culture and politics.
The University of Michigan International Center and English Language Institute have a few ideas for ways that international students can get engaged in this electoral season:
- Educate Yourself: Learn about the U.S. election systems, the purpose of the midterm elections, and why voting is a fundamental part of the U.S. democracy.
- Be Curious: Ask your American classmates and friends about their views on the candidates who they find most appealing and the issues that they find most important.
- Attend an Event: Keep an eye out for election result watching parties hosted by campus organizations on the University Calendar.
- Vet Your Sources: Seek legitimate, non-partisan news sources. Be sure that you are looking at the factual news- not just opinions or social media posts.
- Think Local: Get to know the candidates in Michigan and the ballot issues at the candidate websites and general sites including these:
- Remind Your Friends to Vote: This election is too important for those who can vote to stay at home. College students have busy schedules, so it is important that they make a plan to vote. Remind your friends to schedule a time to vote!
- Familiarize Yourself with Campus-based Initiatives: Check out the Ginsberg Center’s website for more information on campus-based voting efforts including the Big Ten Voting Challenge.
- Run for Campus Office: There are plenty of elected positions within student organizations, including U-M’s Central Student Government and Rackham Student Government, where you can influence the activities, policies, and climate at the University. Run for office – and vote in student elections!
- Keep Things in Perspective: If you don’t understand something, that’s OK. It takes time to fully understand the history, current events, and politics of another country. What’s important is deepening your understanding of life in the U.S. and connecting with other students, faculty, and staff around issues that are important to them—and to you!