Are you a U-M International Student? Interested in taking part in the U.S. elections this year? Then read on!
On November 3rd, U.S. voters will determine who will be president for the next four years. On the same day, hundreds of other elections will select candidates at the state and local level.
While international students, like other non-U.S. citizens, cannot vote in U.S. elections, you can participate in other ways. Many campus conversations will touch on the election this year, 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.
1. Educate Yourself: Learn about the U.S. election systems and why voting is a fundamental part of the U.S. democracy. In a presidential election year, understand the difference between the primaries, in which the major political parties select their candidates, and the general election, which happens every four years on the first Tuesday in November.
2. 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.
3. Attend an Event: Keep an eye out for election result watching parties hosted by campus organizations on the University Calendar. These events could include the Primary Elections in Michigan (March 10), the Democratic Convention (July 13-16), the Republican Convention (August 24-27), and the Presidential Election (November 3).
4. 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.
5. Think Local: Get to know the candidates in Michigan and the ballot issues at the candidate websites and general sites including these:
6. 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!
7. Familiarize Yourself with Campus-based Initiatives: Check out U-M’s Ginsberg Center’s website for more information on campus-based voting efforts including the Big Ten Voting Challenge. Here are a few other campus initiatives related to the election:
- Participate in the International Center’s 2020 Mock Election once you know who is your favorite candidate!
- View the recording of the International Center’s presentation "Understanding the U.S. Presidential Election" to learn more. (Click here to view the slides).
- Check out U-M Democracy Cafe Canvas Course
8. 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!
9. 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!
Additional Online Resources: