With around two weeks until the general midterm elections, DFL candidates gathered on the University of Minnesota campus Thursday evening to emphasize the importance of the student vote.
The University of Minnesota College Democrats and Students for Ilhan Omar hosted DFL candidates like Peggy Flanagan and Ilhan Omar in Coffman Union’s Great Hall for a "Pledge-to-Vote concert." The event featured candidate speeches and local artists.
“18- to 25-year-olds are the largest voting block, I know we have the power to affect the general election,” said Students for Ilhan president Jenny Howard. “And we will.”
According to event organizers, around 100 students attended the concert.
Steve Simon, Mohamud Noor, Angela Conley, Kimberly Caprini, Josh Pauly, Mark Haase, Julie Blaha and Dave Hutch also attended the event, their campaigns tabling the hall with stickers and pamphlets.
“So far, we’ve registered over 500 students to vote and have knocked on over 3,000 doors,” said Michaela Muza, campus organizer with the DFL Youth-Coordinated Campaign.
Lieutenant governor candidate Peggy Flanagan was one of the first speakers, highlighting her and running-mate Tim Walz’s focus on college affordability.
“I am a proud grad of the U,” Flanagan said. “I don’t know if the Peggy Flanagan of today could afford the University of Minnesota, a school that made a tremendous impact on me.”
When incumbent Minnesota secretary of state candidate Steve Simon took the stage, he noted Minnesota’s status as the number one state for voter turnout in the country.
“In 2016, when the dust settled, we were at number one,” Simon said. “To the day, we are more than two to one in terms of where we were with voter registration in 2016.”
Between speakers, entertainment was provided by local artists.
Congressional District 5 candidate Ilhan Omar then addressed the crowd, focusing on her platform of student outreach.
“People between 18 to 24 in this district decide the vote,” Omar said. “I’m going to ask you all to pledge to do so.”
Candidates and campus organizers encouraged students to continue door knocking, phone banking and encouraging their peers to vote with the limited time before general elections.
“Our lives are at stake,” said University of Minnesota Women for Political Change President Aurin Chowdhury. “We need to make a difference in this election.”