Jacob Rains is a junior at Denison University who has distinguished himself with an extraordinary commitment to helping his fellow Denisonians vote. His work in this area has been exceptional. When Ohio’s Secretary of State affected several changes in the student registration process, Jacob worked tirelessly to understand the new requirements and formalized a plan to ensure that every student has the opportunity to vote locally. Jacob is a highly capable and compassionate leader who is consistently willing to accept copious responsibilities.
In 2014 only 19% of college students voted in the midterm elections. This statistic illustrates how challenging it can be to foster civic engagement among those who are 18-22. The low turnout rates within my age group have motivated me to dive into the work of fostering civic engagement among my peers. Throughout both high school and college, I have had a passion for the work of informing others about elections through voter registration and engagement efforts. Often voter engagement efforts, particularly those targeted at young people, run into roadblocks. As one of the leaders of Denison’s voter engagement initiative I have witnessed firsthand how structural barriers can make it harder for students to engage in our democracy. This challenge has never stopped me from working each and every day to ensure that my peers and I have access to the ballot box and are well informed about what is happening in our community. I’ve been really proud to be a part of efforts over the past year to increase voter registration rates and boost participation levels in early and absentee voting at Denison. I look forward to continuing this critical work during this election year and beyond.