Mobilize Mac is the umbrella framing that the Civic Engagement Center and Macalester College uses for democratic engagement and elections-related work via campus-wide collaboration across many different departments and offices. Whether the election cycle is mayoral, mid-term, general, or otherwise, Mobilize Mac is intended to be a space where students and the larger community can access the relevant, non-partisan information they need to vote.
Midterm Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022
The U.S. Presidential Election, also known as the General Election, is held every 4 years. In addition to the President, as much as a third of the U.S. Senate is also on the ballot in the General Election. Midterm Elections (named so because they occur halfway through a President’s term) are held every 2 years, and determine the makeup of the U.S. House of Representatives, since all 435 seats are on the ballot each Midterm Election. Elections that happen in between are considered “off-year” elections, and tend to concern the hyper-local municipal offices (i.e. mayoral, city council, school board, etc.).
While the U.S. Constitution specifies the right to hold elections, the method and location are left to the states with Congress having the power to alter their regulations. This is why the process varies from state to state.
Initially granted solely to white, property-owning men, the right to vote now belongs to every U.S. Citizen when they turn 18 if they can meet certain residency requirements (one can still be homeless and meet this requirement). In nearly every state, residents can register to vote if they will be 18 years of age on or before Election Day.
Although the popular vote for the General Election is held the first Tuesday of each November, the Electoral College is the formal body that elects the President and Vice President. Prior to 2000, there were already 7 General Elections in which one faithless elector helped elect a president that had not won the popular vote. A blank ballot was cast in 2000, resulting in the controversial re-election of George W. Bush. In 2016, 7 electors broke with their state on the presidential ballot and six did so on the vice presidential ballot.
Q: I am already registered as a voter in another state. Can I register to vote in St. Paul or Minneapolis this fall?
A: Yes! Although it is not legal to vote in two different locations during the same election cycle, you can register to vote and cast your ballot wherever you consider your current residence during any given election. Minnesota allows same-day registration, but we encourage you to register ahead of time.
Q: I think I’m already registered in Minnesota, but not sure. Is there a way to check?
A: Yes, you can confirm your registration status online here.
Q: Where do I vote if I live on campus?
A: Eligible voters who live on campus should register ahead of time with 1600 Grand Ave, St. Paul MN 55105 as their address. The registration process online only takes a few minutes, and requires a MN drivers license or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Additionally, Minnesota allows Election Day registration, so students who live on campus only need their Macalester ID to register and vote at Macalester Plymouth United Church (1658 Lincoln Avenue, St. Paul MN 55105) on Election Day. The church is across the street from Carnegie, and less than 350 steps (or about a two-minute walk) from the Campus Center.
Q: I’m not sure where to vote. How do I decide?
A: All In to Vote has excellent resources on voting nationwide, including tools to view your registration status in any state, register to vote, and view a sample ballot according to zip code. Macalester is a 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.
Q: What if I can’t vote, or choose not to?
A: There are many ways to engage the election outside of casting a ballot: Support your friends who plan to vote by helping them form a plan. If you are unable to vote, consider encouraging those who can to do so, and share how the election will impact issues that are important to you. See “Other Ways to Engage the Election” below for more ideas!
Q: Why do local, off-year elections even matter?
A: Both Minneapolis and St. Paul (and other cities throughout the U.S.) have major policy proposals on the ballot in addition to their respective mayoral elections. Depending on the state where you reside, this off-year election includes gubernatorial elections, citizen initiatives, and mayoral, city council and school board elections — all of which have significant implications on the local level and lived experience of residents.
- St. Paul Should the City adopt the proposed Ordinance limiting rent increases? The Ordinance limits residential rent increases to no more than 3% in a 12-month period, regardless of whether there is a change of occupancy. The Ordinance also directs the City to create
a process for landlords to request an exception to the 3% limit based on the right to a reasonable return on investment. A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of limiting rent increases. A “no” vote is a vote against limiting rent increases.”
- Minneapolis Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to authorize the City Council to regulate rents on private residential property in the City of Minneapolis, with the general nature of the amendments being indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot? Explanatory Note: This amendment would: 1. Authorize the City Council to regulate rents on private residential property in the City of Minneapolis by ordinance. 2. Provide that an ordinance regulating rents on private residential property could be enacted in two different and independent ways: a. The City Council may enact the ordinance. b. The City Council may refer the ordinance as a ballot question to be decided by the voters for approval at an election. If more than half of the votes cast on the ballot question are in favor of its adoption, the ordinance would take effect 30 days after the election, or at such other time as provided in the ordinance.”
Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council by ordinance; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot? Explanatory Note: This amendment would create a Department of Public Safety combining public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach to be determined by the Mayor and Council. The department would be led by a Commissioner nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum funding requirement would be eliminated.
Minneapolis voters will also get the chance to determine whether or not to increase the power of the mayor in that city:
Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to adopt a change in its form of government to an Executive Mayor-Legislative Council structure to shift certain powers to the Mayor, consolidating administrative authority over all operating departments under the Mayor, and eliminating the Executive Committee?
Eligible voters who live on campus should register ahead of time with 1600 Grand Avenue as their address. Minnesota allows Election Day registration, so students only need their Macalester ID to register and vote at Macalester Plymouth United Church (1658 Lincoln Avenue, across the street from Carnegie and only 350 steps away from the Campus Center).
For Election Day support:
- Visit us on the third floor of Markim Hall
- Call 651-696-6363 between 8:30am-5:00pm
- Email email@example.com
Students who live off campus should make sure they are registered at their current address. For those who plan to vote outside of Minnesota, All In to Vote has excellent resources on absentee, mail-in, and in-person voting nationwide.
Have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or stop by the third floor of Markim Hall. We’re happy to help!
Not only does everyone not have the option to vote in U.S. elections, but the choice to vote is a highly personal one. There are many ways to engage the election outside of casting a ballot, including, and certainly not limited, to the following:
- Support your friends in forming their voting plans. If you are unable to vote, consider encouraging those who can to do so.
- Accompany a friend to their polling place by offering to walk, bike, drive, or take public transit.
- Discuss the issues that are important to you with those in your network, including how they are impacted by the election.
- Educate yourself and others about the U.S. election system and democratic engagement.
- Door knock, join a rally, or find other ways to engage the issues that are important to you. You do not have to be an eligible voter to volunteer for a campaign or non-profit group.
- State Voting Rights Tracker from the Voting Rights Lab: tracks current legislation to suppress the vote in all 50 U.S. states
- Minneapolis cop says officers have taken ‘hands-off’ approach to crime fighting by Minnesota Reformer, Oct. 20, 2021
- On police amendment, let the people decide by the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, Sept. 22, 2021
- State supreme court approves ballot question on Minneapolis police by Axios, Sept. 17, 2021
- Rent control is on the ballot this fall in Minneapolis and St. Paul by Sahan Journal, Sept. 14, 2021
- Threats by white supremacists in state continue to be serious, officials say by The Star Tribune, Feb. 5, 2021. Brian Lozenski, associate professor of urban and multicultural education, was quoted in this article about the threat of violence from white supremacists in Minnesota.
- Voter Suppression Is Back, 55 Years After the Voting Rights Act op-ed by Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, Politico, Aug. 6, 2020
- The Student Vote Is Surging. So Are Efforts to Suppress It. New York Times, Oct. 24, 2019
For American racism, slavery was only the beginning by the Star Tribune, Feb. 6, 2021
James Stewart, professor emeritus of American history, argues that in order to address systemic racism we need to focus on what happened after slavery.
Duchess Harris named to board of The Kamala Harris Project from Insight News, Feb. 4, 2021
“When I realized that I was one of six women chosen for the advisory board, I was honored to have the privilege of joining a conversation with the most esteemed scholars on women of color in politics,” said the professor of political science and American studies.
Doomsday Clock Says World Remains ‘100 Seconds’ From Disaster by The New York Times, Jan. 27, 2021
Andrew Latham, professor of political science, was quoted at length for this article about the Doomsday Clock. “Once a year, it reminds us that there are some big dangers out there,” he said. “They’re all man-made, and that means maybe they can be man-unmade.”
Can a Biden-Harris administration deliver unity? by MPR News, Jan. 21, 2021
President Suzanne Rivera joined fellow guest Rev. Elijah McDavid and host Angela Davis to discuss the inauguration and what’s next for the country.
It’s time to recognize the forgotten Americans who helped elect Joe Biden op-ed by Katrina Phillips, assistant professor of history (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe) in The Washington Post, Nov. 9, 2020
Fear Spreads in Minnesota Town as ‘Extremist Group’ Moves to Open Church Victoria Guillemard ’18 was interviewed for this article in The New York Times for her work in forming the Murdock Area Alliance Against Hate to organize against the white supremacist hate group that opened a church in Murdock.
Minnesota organizers credit COVID-19 pandemic with helping mobilize Latino voters by Zoë Jackson, Star Tribune, October 15, 2020
Warren makes several stops for Biden in Minnesota, Wisconsin by Kim Hyatt, Star Tribune, October 19, 2020
Groveland podcast 2020: A Historic Election by Lindsay Weber ’21 and Kori Suzuki ’21 dated October 29, 2020. Groveland is a Mac Weekly production.
Macalester President Offers to Pay Bail, Fines for Student Protesters from Inside Higher Ed by Emma Whitford, November 9, 2020.
How young voters helped Biden win Minnesota by Zoë Jackson, Star Tribune, November 9, 2020
Over 50 liberal arts colleges team up to fight systemic racism on campus by EducationDive, November 14, 2020
Questions? We’re here to help! Visit us on the third floor of Markim Hall or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we’ll get back to you right away. We also welcome your feedback and ideas to help make voting and democratic engagement easy for everyone, regardless of voter status or party affiliation.