This election year, Seton Hall has taken major strides towards helping its students become more active and informed voters by providing them with the service TurboVote.
TurboVote is an application that helps people register to vote, update their voter registration, or just request an absentee ballot, according to TurboVote.org.
The Dean of Students office paid for the university’s TurboVote membership, said Karen Van Norman, associate vice president and dean of students, “but the Student Government Association (SGA) has really led the voter registration efforts at SHU.”
Teagan Sebba, president of SGA and a senior political science major, said in an email interview that she was a freshman when TurboVote first came to SHU, but voting and the political process are extremely important to her, so she just took over TurboVote from there. Sebba also interned with TurboVote this past summer.
According to Sebba, TurboVote was a complete success at SHU this year, considering 1,663 students either registered to vote, requested an absentee ballot, or chose to receive election updates and reminders through TurboVote.
“That’s 1,663 people that took an extra step to have their voice heard and participate in our political process,” Sebba said.
Sebba said that many students came to her with questions about TurboVote.
“I think when it comes to something as seemingly daunting as voting for president,” said Sebba, “you really need a person to ask.”
Sebba also said that TurboVote is especially important on college campuses because it simplifies the voting process.
“It provides students with a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope because many college students don’t have envelopes or stamps lying around, it gives you election reminders personalized to fit your lifestyle, and helps students request absentee ballots if they will be on campus on election day instead of back home where they are registered,” Sebba added.
Rishi Shah, a freshman finance and marketing major, said that he chose to use TurboVote because he was having a hard time finding how to register to vote and it seemed like a convenient solution.
“I think the service is great, Shah said, “But in the future, an email outlining what the next steps and voting options are would be really helpful, especially for new voters.”
Although Lauren Mangine, a freshman elementary education major, did not need to use TurboVote, she found it useful.
“I went home over fall break and chose to just get an absentee ballot from my town’s voter registration office,” Mangine said.
Even so, she said she found TurboVote’s website convenient and easy to understand.
“I think it was extremely helpful, considering they sent me all the paperwork right to my school mailbox,” Shah said.
Isabel Soisson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.