Marissa Pittman, 87th Student Government Association President, and Dexter Maryland, 75th TSU Student Body President.

From ensuring access to abortion, to funding public education, and enacting common-sense gun control, some of the most critical issues of our time will be decided on Election Day. The United States will undoubtedly be transformed by the election results — and the 1.2 million Black people who became newly eligible to cast a ballot will be able to participate in the democratic process for the first time.  

In particular, young Black voters have an opportunity to create the change they wish to see — and that’s especially true for students attending the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Getting Students Registered and Informed

Dillard University’s 87th Student Government Association President Marissa Pittman says she’s been working all year to ensure that the New Orleans-based school’s student body is ready to make their voices heard at the polls. 

“Voting can help change the trajectory of our communities. It is critical that we exercise our right to vote because there are people without our best interest at heart.” Pittman says.

Pittman says that in September, Dillard’s Student Government Association partnered with UNITE Inc. to host voter registration events on its 1,200-student campus. As a result, over 50 students registered to vote, and nearly 200 pledged to vote in the 2022 midterms. 

On Election Day, Dillard — along with other civic and student organizations on campus — is hosting March to the Polls — an effort to mobilize students around voting. The university also partnered with community organizations, such as the Power Coalition and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to break down ballot measures and ensure students are informed voters.

“Students care about the repeal of Roe v. Wade, accessibility to contraceptives, and student debt relief. Slavery is also on the ballot in the state of Louisiana, so it is a pressing issue,” Pittman says. 

Indeed, a “yes” vote on Louisiana Amendment 7 supports removing language from the state constitution that allows involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and adding language to say that the section of the constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude “does not apply to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice.” 

A Focus on Eliminating Voter Misinformation

Dexter Maryland, the 75th student body president of Texas Southern University, says he is focused on eliminating misinformation and disinformation to help the 10,000 undergraduate students at the Houston-based school confidently cast their ballots. 

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