SOS seeks college students for voting panel

    Wayne State University | iStockphoto

    Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson this week said she’s forming a Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force and is seeking 20 to 25 members.

    Jocelyn Benson at a press conference in Flint, Feb. 21, 2019 | Ken Coleman

    The panel is open to Michigan student attending a two- or four-year higher education institution. Task force members will be selected by members of the Department of State’s Election Modernization Advisory Committee and Secretary of State staff leadership.

    The group will make recommendations for improving voter engagement among college students and offer perspectives on implementing Michigan’s voting rights constitutional amendment, Proposal 3, which passed in 2018.

    “Young people are the future of our democracy, and this task force is an important step toward ensuring their voices are heard on Election Day and beyond,” Benson said.

    SOS forms panel to enact Proposal 3, update election procedures

    The task force will meet three times this fall between September and November in locations throughout the state, with final recommendations submitted to Benson in November. Travel expenses will be reimbursed. In 2020, students will work with the Secretary of State’s Office as civic engagement liaisons to their respective campuses.

    Applicants must fill out an online application and submit their resumes, demonstrating a commitment to voting, enthusiasm for the work and the ability to engage with the Secretary of State’s office and their communities through the November 2020 election. Applications are due by 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, and can be completed here.

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Seems counter-intuitive but this is another great idea from our outstanding Secretary of State. Young people have traditionally been one of the lowest group in terms of voter turnout (in a nation that has embarrassing low voter turnout to begin with). Asking them why makes great sense. As a member of the Secretary Benson’s Advisory Committee on Election Modernization, I look forward to the input of those most directly impacted.

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