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Election Resources: Cast Your Whole Vote

Quick Links:

  • Voter Information and Registration: Register to vote, change your address, or confirm that you are registered to vote in Maryland or any other state. Learn about early voting and mail-in voting.
  • Events and Programs: Voting is important, and there are many other ways to participate in shaping the future of our communities, state, and nation. Learn about some of them here.

 

These four ideas are at the core of UMBC’s approach to voter engagement:

 

A black check mark in a gold box surrounded by gold arrows.

Voting Is Easy.

Navigating aspects of the voting process can be done using the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s Voter Information and Registration webpage, which includes links to local resources as well as ALL IN to Vote’s tools. Take action early so every vote will count.

A black check mark in a gold box inside of two larger gold boxes.

Voting Matters.

The impact of elections on the quality of our lives, and our prospects for the future, is enormous. Even though your one vote may not decide the election, it can influence elected officials’ priorities, actions, and decisions, because your choice to vote or not vote will be a matter of public record. When you participate, you declare that you and people in your age group and connected to UMBC matter. Read more about why your vote matters here.

A black check mark in a gold box, which is in the center of a gold outline of UMBC's Official Paw Print logo.

UMBC Students Vote.

UMBC won a Gold Award from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for its 113% increase in student voter turnout in the 2018 election (relative to 2014). 85% of UMBC students were registered to vote in the 2016 national election, and 75% of those actually voted. UMBC’s overall turnout rate in 2016 was 125% of the national average for colleges and universities (source: National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE)).

A grid of gold squares, each containing a black abstract illustration: three people sitting at a table; a house and a skyscraper; a speech bubble containing an ellipsis; a globe; a star; seven people sitting in a circle beneath the Forum sculpture outside of UMBC's Performing Arts and Humanities Building; two people with a lightbulb above their heads; a sprout and a shovel; and a check mark.

Cast Your Whole Vote.

“Casting your whole vote” means committing fully to building strong, inclusive, just communities in which everyone can thrive. The idea comes from Henry David Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience. Thoreau observed that in the 19th century there were a lot of people who complained about what the government did or did not do, but took no real responsibility. They might vote in elections, but they did not learn about the issues, engage in conversations with members of their community, and contribute their time and talent to building a better world. Thoreau urged them to “cast your whole vote, not a [ballot] merely, but your whole influence.”

For many years, UMBC has pursued innovative approaches to civic learning and democratic engagement that align with Thoreau’s message, foregrounding the capacity of people at UMBC as agents and co-creators of their communities and democracy. These approaches orient members of the campus community to democracy as a way of life enacted both in formal political processes and in everyday settings such as neighborhoods, workplaces, student organizations, and classrooms. They challenge aspects of our broader U.S. civic culture that reduce citizenship to consumer participation and voting to a transaction.

Our hope at the Center for Democracy and Civic Life is to support people at UMBC in embracing civic involvement as an everyday, lifelong commitment rather than episodic fulfillment of civic duties. Fulfilling this hope is necessarily a shared responsibility of every member of the campus community. Please connect with us if you have ideas about how to deepen and extend UMBC’s civic ethos by emailing civiclife@umbc.edu.