Profile — Northern Votes encourages civic engagement, voting


Photo courtesy of Kate Gunville

STUDENT VOTING SUMMIT — Members of Northern Votes attend the 2022 Michigan Student Voting Summit at Michigan State University. The summit featured workshops, panels and a networking fair which aimed to bring together student voting leaders from colleges and universities across Michigan build a robust state-wide network to advance long-term student voting participation.

Willow Rasch

Northern Votes is a nonpartisan club at NMU that was established in the summer of 2022. The club focuses on helping and encouraging students to engage civically in their community.

“We aim to reach all students on campus and encourage them to vote and provide them the resources needed to vote,” said Kate Gunville, a junior political science and communication studies major and president of Northern Votes. “We believe that everyone should be civically engaged and use the voice that they have.”

Last semester, Northern Votes often tabled in Jamrich to hand out resources from nonpartisan organizations, such as the League of Women Voters and the Secretary of State and to help students register to vote, Gunville said.

Northern Votes also hosted Lit Drops, gave presentations to different classes and held an event called Anatomy of Election in partnership with the League of Women Voters.

“[League of Women Voters] provide these absolutely incredible voter guides,” Gunville said. “It has all the candidate’s answers to specific questions, so you can compare and make an informed decision.”

The club started prior to last semester’s election season, which meant that they had to hit the ground running and that energy carried on through the semester, Gunville said.

“It was pretty crazy during midterms,” said Jacob Fewkes, a junior sustainable business and enterprise creation major and a member of Northern Votes. “Midterms were right in the thick of class tests and we were all extremely stressed and burnt out, we did what we had to do.”

Even though we are not currently in an election cycle, Northern Votes is still meeting every other week and are working on spreading civic information about how to register to vote in Marquette to the student body, Fewkes said.

“This semester we’re working on possibly getting our own clerk’s office on campus,” Fewkes said. “So people don’t have to go to the Marquette clerk to register to vote, they can do it directly on campus.”

There is always something going on, something that needs to change, said Olivia Dunn, a senior international studies major and vice president of Northern Votes. 

“We are currently trying to get a political speaker to come and talk about the anatomy of elections and civil processes and how they work,” Dunn said.

Northern Votes meets at 5 p.m. in Jamrich 3100. The next meeting is on Feb. 9 and all interested students are welcome to attend.