UWM grad student wins national voting honor roll award

Alannah Ray, UWM external relations graduate intern, is being recognized on the 2022 ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll.

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge honor roll is a recognition program for college students at participating campuses who are doing outstanding work to advance nonpartisan democratic engagement. Ray is part of a group of 82 college students recognized for their nonpartisan voter engagement efforts on campuses across the country in 2021.

Ray helped lead and organize the efforts of the university’s nonpartisan voting team that includes faculty, staff and students. Among the group’s efforts is a campus voting website that includes regularly updated information on how to register, what ID is needed for voting, dates and locations for voting, frequently asked questions, a communications toolkit for faculty who are interested in encouraging their students to vote, and links to other resources. In the past several elections, UWM has also served as a voting site for Milwaukee. Regular communications to faculty, staff and students keep the campus community informed about upcoming elections.

In November 2021, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge presented its 2021 Best Action Plan Award to the university. UWM also won the Wisconsin Campus Voting Challenge award for four-year institutions from the same organization. And UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County won the same award for two-year institutions. (The same action plan applied to both campuses.)

In addition, UWM received the organization’s bronze seal for its work in increasing voting rates. The UWM voting rate – the percentage of eligible students who voted on Election Day 2020 – was 58.1%, up 4.7 percentage points from the 2016 election.

“Alannah has done an incredible job promoting voting on UWM’s campus over the past year and building voting awareness heading into this spring and fall elections, said Alyssa Conrardy, outreach program manager, who nominated her.

Her work has earned UWM thousands of dollars in grant money to assist with voter education and outreach efforts on campus, Conrardy said.

Ray also rebranded UWM’s voting efforts to PanthersVote to make the initiatives more student-friendly.

Her work as the primary individual spearheading voting initiatives on the campus is an incredible and important responsibility, Conrardy added. Many campuses have full-time dedicated staff to handle the work.

“Alannah moves the needle as an anthropology graduate student in under 20 hours a week,” Conrardy said.

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