Voting and Civic Engagement

Marchers with signs at the March on Washington, 1963

One of the Ten Demands put forth as part of the March on Washington was guaranteeing the right to vote for all citizens of the United States. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fellow civil rights leaders clearly understood that the ability to vote is an important right in the United States.  

The College of Liberal Arts, as part of the Dream Initiative, is actively promoting voter registration and participation in local, state, and federal elections among eligible students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We recognize that some people within the CLA community are not eligible to vote or do not believe in the importance of voting. We also recognize that some within the CLA community are just seeking additional ways to strengthen their communities. Therefore, we will also promote ways for our community members to engage in various civic actions that make a positive difference in their communities in the United States. 

Information for Those Wanting to Vote 

Minnesota Voters

Learn how to register to vote, update your registration, check your registration status, or explore options for voting on the Secretary of State website. In Minnesota 16- and 17-year-olds can pre-register to vote and anyone who is eligible to vote can register on Election Day provided they have the necessary documentation.

Voters Outside of Minnesota

If you are eligible to vote but wish to vote outside of Minnesota, register to vote and/or check voter registration deadlines in any state or territory.

The Minnesota Secretary of State has a guide for college students about where they should vote.

Can You Vote in Minnesota?

In order to be eligible to vote in Minnesota you must meet the following requirements:

  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • A resident of Minnesota for 20 days
  • Not currently incarcerated for a conviction of a felony sentence
  • You can vote while under guardianship unless a judge specifically has revoked your right to vote

Hennepin County Libraries has a guide on how to research political candidates in local, state, and federal elections.

Civic Engagement Suggestions 

Not everyone within the CLA community is eligible to vote or believes in the importance of voting. Others may be seeking other ways to be civically engaged within their communities. Here are some political and apolitical suggestions to consider, although it is not a comprehensive list. Hopefully, it will spur your own thinking about ways you can participate in the life of your community to improve conditions for others or to help shape your community’s future.

  • Become an elections judge (Apply to be an Elections Judge in Minnesota
  • Help others in your community register to vote, find their polling place and get to their polling place
  • Join an election campaign
  • Know who your elected officials are and connect with them. 
  • Join your city’s boards or commissionsAttend city, county, and/or school board meetings
  • Get involved in your local neighborhood association
  • Participate in a community garden
  • Volunteer with an organization or political party that does work you care about
  • Run for office
  • Write letters to the editor and/or to elected officials on issues that concern you 
  • Volunteer with a political campaign
  • Sign a petition 
  • Join a protest or a rally
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Become a blood donor and/or encourage others to do the same
  • Educate yourself about issues you care about
  • Volunteer and/or make donations of money or goods to organizations that address issues of concern to you
  • Join AmeriCorps or AmeriCorp Seniors
  • Help researchers advance science on


Introducing the Dream Initiative

In 2023, we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered the historic “I Have A Dream” speech. Inspired by historical and contemporary justice movements, the Dream Initiative, based in the College of Liberal Arts, invites Twin Cities organizations and communities to engage in opportunities that commemorate, foster reflection, educate, and amplify our shared, social justice aspirations and actions for change.

Learn more about the Dream Initiative

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