On Wednesday, Sept. 5, students across campus were drawn to the CUB amphitheater by the sounds of WSYC and a bounce house and the smell of cotton candy. While at first many were unsure of what was going on, they soon became aware of the organization Ship Votes, which hosted the event.
The event being held was called “Rock the Vote.” The goal of “Rock the Vote” was to encourage SU students to register to vote and explain the importance of voting.
Every presidential election is important. This one is no different. One of the volunteers at the event, Crystal, a sophomore, stressed the fact “youth make up 24 percent of the population; it’s important that their voices and opinions are heard.”
Sarah, an intern for the Women’s Center and volunteer for Ship Votes, urged students to vote, otherwise “it will be like the 2010 elections all over again.” She went on to say that in 2008, “51 percent of students voted, and in 2010, 27.8 percent voted. Less than two months later, the education budget was cut by 50 percent.”
It is important for students to know that their vote can make a real difference in election outcomes.
Chad Whitmer is a double major in criminal justice and social work. He also volunteers for Ship Votes.
When asked if he believed there was a common reason why students do not vote, Whitmer responded, “Many feel disenfranchised by the system. They think it doesn’t matter whether or not they vote, because whoever is elected will do what he or she chooses, regardless of student input.”
However, Whitmer wants SU students and students in general, to realize that they do have a voice and that it will be heard when they get involved and cast their vote.
He explained that students are “demographically underrepresented when it comes to voting. It is important that they vote in this upcoming election because it directly connects to their future.”
Some of the most recurring themes of the presidential campaigns are jobs, the economy and education.
Cheryl Slattery, the bouncer of the bounce house and an associate professor in the education department, added that many students are unaware of the impact their voice has on elections and policies.
Slattery hopes that this event has helped SU students become more aware of the steps required to register to vote. It is a relatively simple process, but students often “get caught up in other activities or are generally unaware of the process.” She added that the goal of the day was “to make registering students both convenient and fun.”
The volunteers and coordinators of Ship Votes put a lot of effort into the event, ensuring that as many SU students as possible registered. There are four simple things that students must do in order to be allowed into a polling place.
First, students must fill out a voter registration form stating their current address. It is available on Rock the Vote’s website: https://register.rockthevote.com/registrants/.
After the form is submitted, students will receive a notice approximately 6-8 weeks later letting them know where they should go to vote on Nov. 6.
In order to vote, everyone must bring a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to his or her polling place.
And last but not least, they have to go out and vote.