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University Wins College Ballot Bowl

Montclair among universities with most registered student voters who also pledged to vote in the November 2, 2021 election

Posted in: Homepage News, University

Every election year, Montclair registers hundreds of students to vote.
Each election cycle, Montclair registers hundreds of students to vote.

Montclair State University won the 2021 New Jersey Ballot Bowl in its conference bracket for not only registering students to vote but also for securing 530 pledges to vote from students.

Every election and every vote counts, so this year the New Jersey Department of State added a voting pledge to its annual college Ballot Bowl to encourage students to vote in the November 2 election, which included the governor’s race, 120 state legislative races, hundreds of county and local leaders and, for the first time, early voting was available.

Of the 25 universities that participated in the 2021 Ballot Bowl, the four winners were:

  • Conference 1: Montclair State University
  • Conference 2: The College of New Jersey
  • Conference 3: Raritan Valley Community College
  • Conference 4: Berkeley College

Montclair has won or placed in the Ballot Bowl each of the last few years, according to Brennan Sumner, a graduate student and the graduate coordinator for the Office of Civic and Voter Engagement, who registered or obtained pledges from many students to vote.

“We performed exceptionally well not only by the sheer number of students but also by the percentage of the student population who either pledged or registered to vote. I think this speaks well about MSU as an institution and, in particular, the character of its students,” he says.

Some 79% of students are registered to vote, Sumner says, and out of this, 530 pledged to vote in this election.

The Office of Civic and Voter Engagement collaborated with several departments and organizations on the Ballot Bowl, including The Graduate School, the Montclair State Votes Coalition and the Office for Hispanic Initiatives, according to Sumner.

The University has long been a “Voter Friendly Campus” and earned a place on Washington Monthly’s list of “Best Colleges for Student Voting” in 2020.

“We strongly believe that part of our core responsibility to the State of New Jersey and to the greater community is to help students develop and exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens,” says Dawn Meza Soufleris, vice president for Student Development and Campus Life. “Voting is the most empowering of those rights, and it is the responsibility of citizens to participate in this type of civic engagement as a way of shaping the world in which they want to live.”