Voterpalooza, mayoral forum welcome city candidates to campus

Alexi Gusso

University of Minnesota students can meet Minneapolis mayoral and city council candidates, register to vote and learn about the ranked-choice voting system Tuesday, Sept. 24 at Northrop Plaza

The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group is partnering with the Minnesota Student Association and FairVote Minnesota to host the second annual Voterpalooza. The groups will also host a mayoral debate at Coffman Union later in the evening.

Mayoral and city council candidates will have booths set up across the plaza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  for students to visit with the candidates, said University junior Sigme Okut, who is also MPIRG’s communication intern.

MPIRG and other student groups will be around the plaza with voter registration and pledge forms for students to complete.

Nearly 400 students registered to vote at last year’s Voterpalooza, which featured an inflatable bouncy house and free “Vote or Die” T-shirts for attendees.

MSA member Gabe Madson said this year’s event will be more “low-key.” Although students will not get to enjoy a bouncy house, they will get to snack on free pizza and become familiar with the local elections.

The forum, hosted by MPIRG, MSA and the Augsburg Day Student Government will begin at 8 p.m. at the Coffman Memorial Union Theater. The debate will be moderated by political science professor Andrew Karch.

Candidates Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryholmes, Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels, Cam Winton, Stephanie Woodruff, Bob Fine, and Doug Mann will discuss issues such as housing, transportation and education.

MSA president Mike Schmit said the candidates will also answer questions submitted throughout the day by students at Voterpalooza.

“[City elections] are very important to the University and we just want to encourage civic engagement among students,” Schmit said.