Mississippi - Empowering Young Student Voters

Project Objective:

The project brings together multiple stakeholders at the Mississippi State University community with local election officials in order to support and promote nonpartisan voter education and civic engagement activities. The goal of this project is to educate young student voters about the election process, increase on-campus civic engagement, and promote student voter participation in the 2022 election. The project will transition into a data-driven evaluation of activities and report their findings to stakeholders, LEOs, and the broader campus community.

Ballots USPS

Media Coverage

Washington Post: As the midterms loom, here’s how election officials can help voters | Opinion

When state election officials invest in voter education, they may actually bolster confidence in ballot-counting at the personal, local, state and national levels. Co-authored by Thessalia Merivaki.


Person on laptop registering to vote

Mississippi Free Press: Young Mississippi Voters Are Left Out Without Online Voter Registration

After completing our registration drives in September 2022, our students concluded that it is difficult to register to vote in Mississippi. There are ways to fix this, but our state legislators must make it easier for election officials to do their job and keep elections safe. By Thessalia Merivaki, Leslie Baker, and James Chamberlain


Voter Registration form

The Reflector: Political science department celebrates National Voter Registration Day

Thessalia Merivaki, an assistant professor in the political science and public administration department, said her department planned to host guests and set up voter registration drives to celebrate.

tabling efforts for voter registration

The Reflector: Voter awareness efforts led by state, university community

In 2021, Mississippi State University was awarded a “voter-friendly” status for student voter turn-out in the 2020 elections. State officials and MSU student organizations and departments have made efforts to maintain youth participation in the upcoming midterm election.

People voting
National Voter Registration Day

Forbes: The Barriers Of My Mississippi Student Voter Experience 

One important story to tell about young voters is the barriers they face to vote. For many, these hoops can affect their first-time voter experience, and can exclude them from future elections.


"Vote" sign

Mississippi State University: MSU designated ‘Voter Friendly Campus’ by Campus Vote Project, NASPA

Mississippi State University was named a national Voter Friendly Campus today [March 28] for planning and implementing practices encouraging students to register and vote in recent and future elections.


Mississippi State University logo

Mississippi State University: Voter Registration and Engagement Action Plan 2022

The following action plan has been created as a working document to help guide voter engagement and education at Mississippi State University (MSU). Thessalia Merivaki is part of Task Force that created this plan. 


Project Leaders

Mississippi State University
Thessalia Merivaki Headshot

Merivaki is an Assistant Professor of American Politics at Mississippi State University, and the faculty advisor for MSUCollege Republicans. Merivaki is an election sciences expert and has collaborated with local election officials on research, voter registration training and outreach, poll worker programs, and student run exit polls. She has also established a partnership with the Mississippi Secretary of State. Merivaki is a founding member of Mississippi State University’s Voter Friendly Campus Taskforce, which was created in 2018, after Merivaki piloted campus-wide, student-run voter registration and mobilization activities.

Mississippi State University

Chamberlain's research focuses on capitalism, work, and borders. Chamberlain has taught Introduction to Political Theory, various upper-level political theory courses (including Ancient and Medieval Political Theory and Modern Political Theory), as well as international human rights and a course on global capitalism.

Mississippi State University
Baker Headshot

Baker is an Instructor of Political Science and Undergraduate Coordinator. Baker is the faculty advisor for MSU College Democrats, and is teaching Introduction to American Government in the Fall of 2022, with a 200-student enrollment. She has agreed to involve her students on National Voter Registration Day as a class activity in lieu of teaching that day and will offer her students the option to participate in the “March to the Polls” GOTV activity on Election Day.