Eastern Michigan University student leading effort to increase student voter participation in Michigan’s primary election

Naomi Barbour outside McKenny Hall

YPSILANTI - Naomi Barbour, a junior at Eastern Michigan University, is leading a campaign to increase college students' participation in Michigan's voting process.

Just recently, Governor Gretchen Whitmer approved a bill to change the date of the primary election calendar for the 2024 election, which occurred while many Michigan colleges were closed for spring break. Barbour, who’s majoring in political science with a concentration in public law and judicial politics and a minor in public and non-profit administration, worked on a task force to present election dates for the Michigan legislation to consider. Currently, she’s focused on implementing on-campus early voting, voter registration at community early voting sites, and creating an opportunity for out-of-state students to register online.

“Michigan had the highest increase in young voters ages 18-24 registering to vote in 2022 when compared to 2018,” said Barbour. “Student participation in Michigan’s elections continues to increase, and it is critical the needs of this significant block of voters are considered as additional reforms related to voting and elections are advanced. Youth voter participation is crucial to the future of our democracy.”

According to Barbour, the Presidential Primary Bill efforts originated as a conversation among members of the Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force (CSATF) and Campus Vote Project (CVP), who were eager to increase young voters.

In addition to CSATF and CVP, Barbour works closely with the One Campaign in Michigan, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda, and NextGen America. Barbour urges citizens to protect their voting rights by staying active in politics.

“I have been interested in law and judicial philosophy all my life, but politics is something you grow into,” said Barbour. “I am an activist and have that fighting spirit that politics is akin to. My future goals include passing the Michigan Bar, becoming a legal advocate for civil rights, and working to strengthen what it means to be guaranteed a right in America.”

To learn more about the Presidential Primary Bill, visit the webpage.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

March 15, 2023

Written by:
Andrew Fogle

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher