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Democratic Engagement

Elections provide an important opportunity for civic engagement, conversation across difference, and thinking together about the rights and responsibilities of our democracy. The Civic Engagement Center works collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students across the Macalester community to cultivate a campus culture that encourages participation by all students, regardless of voting eligibility, party affiliation, or voting status. Mobilize Mac is the umbrella framing that the Civic Engagement Center uses for all elections-related work, whether it’s a mayoral, midterm, or general election cycle. Some examples include:

    • educational activities
    • continued community organizing training
    • voter registration on campus
    • voter registration off campus
    • issue-based education and engagement
    • civil dialogue
    • educational activities with K-12

Everyone is welcome to engage with the issues that matter most to them. Join the conversation online with #MobilizeMac and #HeyMac.

Macalester Voting Data

Along with 1,100+ other higher education institutions, Macalester participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). This study tracks overall voting rates for presidential and midterm elections among students eligible to vote. In the fall of 2020, NSLVE updated their methodology. They had determined that their process did an excellent job of tracking voting at permanent addresses, but it was much less accurate at tracking student voting using student addresses on or close to their college campus. This update generated new Macalester voting rates in previous elections.

The update increased the overall voting rate of all participating campuses by 1.5%, but the impact varied greatly depending on specific campus contexts. At Macalester, the updated data is quite different from the previous data:

  • 2016 Presidential Election: While we previously understood that 57.9% of eligible Macalester student voters voted, this was updated to 81.9%
  • 2018 Midterm Election: While we previously understood that 53.5% of eligible Macalester student voters voted, this was updated to 72.8%
  • In both 2016 and 2018, the Macalester voting rate matches the high point of the overall range across all 1,100+ participating institutions!


Macalester is also a proud campus member of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, make democratic participation a core value on their campus, and cultivate generations of engaged citizens who are essential to a healthy democracy.