Columbia Student Recognized for Her Work Getting Out the Vote on Campus and Beyond

Haley Patton, a Film and Television major at Columbia College Chicago, earns spot on the 2023 ALL In Student Voting Honor Roll.

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) today announced that Columbia College Chicago student Haley Patton, a Film and Television major who expects to graduate in 2025, has been recognized as part of the 2023 ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll. The Honor Roll awards students doing outstanding work to advance nonpartisan democratic engagement at participating campuses like Columbia College Chicago.

Patton joins a group of 175 students recognized for their voter registration, education and turnout efforts ahead of last year’s historic midterm elections. The 2022 midterm elections saw one of the highest youth turnout rates for a midterm election in the past 40 years — an estimated 23 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 turned out to vote. At Columbia College Chicago, 72% of students voted in 2020, whiich is up from 56% in 2016.

“This year’s honorees played a crucial part in registering and empowering student voters ahead of last year’s midterm elections, resulting in historic turnout among young voters. The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is honored to celebrate hundreds of student leaders encouraging nonpartisan democratic engagement across the country,” says Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “These students organized voter registration drives, coordinated campus-wide voter engagement resources, and brought polling locations to their campuses. We are excited to watch these students continue to change the world.”

At Columbia College Chicago, Patton is part of Columbia Votes, a group started in 2019 by Professor of Journalism Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin to help students learn about the electoral process, assist them with registering, and increase student voting. As a Voter Registration Genius, Patton supports Columbia students as well as those from other institutions as they navigate voter registration, absentee ballots, mail-in voting, and finding polling places.

For the past two semesters, Patton has done class presentations and worked the group’s table at Columbia’s Student Center and the University Center, making herself available for any questions or discussions. With the midterms being a focal point of last semester, she also spent the weeks leading up to it presenting to as many classes as possible, trying to make sure every student could have the opportunity to vote.

Most recently, Patton has been running the group’s social media presence on Instagram (@columbiachivotes) to help make information digestible for students on a platform that's accessible for voters in her generation. With fellow students, she has also begun to develop strategies to make a larger local impact and she spent National Voter Registration Day at Jones College Prep talking to students about their right to vote and helping those eligible to get registered. 

“We're hoping to expand our outreach in the coming years and I'm excited to connect with other youth voters through this,” she says. “I think a lot of young voters also get turned off from voting because they think it's hard. The truth is, it takes less than a minute to register yourself and even less time to locate a polling location. Now that we have one on campus in the Conaway Center (1104 S. Wabash), we are hoping that the proximity makes it easier for students to take the extra step to show up on voting day.”

Bloyd-Peshkin, who continues to lead Columbia Votes, believes Patton’s recognition by ALL-IN is well deserved.

"Haley brings to Columbia Votes tremendous passion for and depth of knowledge about the importance and impact of the youth vote,” Bloyd-Peshkin says. “She's been essential to our success this past year, and I am looking forward to her continuing contributions to our effectiveness at engaging Columbia College students in voting."

Congratulations to Haley Patton for this honor!