Vote stickers

What you should Know: Understanding U.S. elections

With the 2020 elections coming up students across campus will hear an increased chatter around elections both locally in Madison, as well as nationally. Here are some ways to learn more about elections as well as ways to get involved.

  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, this year that is Tuesday November 3, 2020.
  2. Consider 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.
  3. Attend an Event: Keep an eye out for debate and election result watching parties hosted by campus organizations on the Events Calendar. Events that fit this category are labeled with a Vote tag, like those events listed lower on this page.
  4. Think Local: Get to know the candidates in Wisconsin and the ballot issues at the candidate websites and general sites. Some non-partisan sites are:
  5. 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.
  6. Remind Your Friends to Vote: This election is too important for those who can vote to stay at home. According to a study UW-Madison students who participated in voting was at 52.9 percent in 2018. 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. 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!

Get Involved with Associated Students of Madison

  1. Run for Campus Office: There are plenty of elected positions within student organizations, including Associated Students of Madison where you can influence the activities, policies, and climate at the University. Run for office – and vote in student elections!
  2. Familiarize Yourself with Campus-based Initiatives: Check out UW Morgridge Center for more information on campus-based voting efforts including the Big Ten Voting Challenge.

This content adapted with permission from University of Michigan