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Ann Arbor City Clerk to open satellite office at U-M Museum of Art

Move aims to increase student voter turnout

UMMA is housed inside the university's Alumni Memorial Hall (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
UMMA is housed inside the university's Alumni Memorial Hall (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – The city of Ann Arbor has established a satellite office for the upcoming general election in a gallery space at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

The satellite office opens on National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22 and will remain open through Nov. 3. Starting Sept. 24., U-M students, faculty and staff can register to vote and cast early in-person absentee ballots at UMMA.

The space will be Michigan’s first-ever satellite city clerk’s office on a university campus.

“This was a natural fit," Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry said in a statement. "As a community, we have been a leader in student voting rights for many years, as there are already several polling stations located in campus buildings. We are excited to be filling this need for our community, and our hope is that we will continue to collaborate during even year November elections in order to create ongoing access for voters at U-M and in Ann Arbor.”

Stephanie Rowden and Hannah Smotrich, professors at U-M Stamps School of Art & Design, kickstarted the effort as part of a longtime research project inspired by consistently low student voter turnout.

During the 2014 midterm elections, only 14 percent of U-M students voted. That number has greatly increased in recent years due to coordinated campaigns on campus. In the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterms, 44 percent and 41 percent of U-M students voted, respectively. This was due to efforts like the Big Ten Voting Challenge, Turn Up Turnout and Creative Campus Voting Project launched by Rowden and Smotrich.

Wayfinding sign outside the Stenn Gallery on the museum's first floor. (University of Michigan)

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