Sarah Cahalan '14 | December 3, 2018
In this year’s midterm elections, the American electorate voted in 435 members of the House of Representatives, 33 Senators and 36 governors across all 50 states. Notre Dame students come to campus from every state in the union, and nearly all are of voting age. How do you get them to vote in all those disparate races?
Rosie McDowell ’93 has a few ideas.
McDowell wears many hats on staff at the Center for Social Concerns (including as director of international community-based learning outreach and chair of justice education), and in recent years she’s added another: adviser of ND Votes.
The voter advocacy group first appeared on campus during the 2004 and 2008 election cycles, but it had lain dormant until the 2016 campaign, when a group of freshmen approached the center and asked for help registering students to vote.
“It was originally conceived as a three-semester initiative that would get us through the 2016 election,” McDowell says, and efforts were to take three forms: voter education, voter registration and voter mobilization. “But it was so well received, and so impactful-seeming to the students, that. . .we realized we weren’t going to shut it down. We needed to continue the conversation.”
The conversation kicked into high gear during the 2018 election cycle, when efforts to get out the vote seemed particularly prominent — and particularly partisan.
“That’s curious, isn’t it?” McDowell asks. “That that becomes a partisan issue. And students are concerned about that.”
Read more here.