Mobilize Mac is the umbrella framing that the Community 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, midterm, 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 — along with other ideas for ways to engage the electoral process.
The upcoming general election is Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Check this page and follow us on social media for more as the election draws closer.
How to Vote: Students Living on Campus
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 protected]
How to Vote: Students Living Off Campus
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Other Ways to Engage the Election
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.
U.S. Elections 101
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.
Timely Articles & Resources
- Early voting begins today. Here’s what you need to know. Minnesota Reformer, Sept. 23, 2022
- Minnesota election administration explained: post-election checks Minnesota Reformer, Aug. 24, 2022
- State Voting Rights Tracker from the Voting Rights Lab: tracks current legislation to suppress the vote in all 50 U.S. states
- 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
Mac in the News
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.
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
Groveland podcast 2020: A Historic Election by Lindsay Weber ’21 and Kori Suzuki ’21 dated October 29, 2020. Groveland is a Mac Weekly production.
How young voters helped Biden win Minnesota by Zoë Jackson, Star Tribune, November 9, 2020
Questions? We’re here to help! Visit us on the third floor of Markim Hall or email [email protected] or [email protected] 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.