With Midterms on Nov. 6, Election Day is on the Horizon. Seton Hall will have a polling location downstairs in the Walsh Library. With the date looming, students are making an effort to energize others to vote and have their voices heard.
According to the The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) Campus Report, Seton Hall’s 2016 voting rate for the presidential elections was 60.7 percent. Currently, the university has one of the highest registered-to-vote campuses in New Jersey at 66 percent registered.
Several sororities and clubs have lined the hallways in the University Center urging students to register.
Josie Martinez, a junior political science and economics major, heads the school’s voter registration as the Student Leadership Coordinator for the Department of Student Life. Martinez explained that a student registering to vote allows them to move one step closer to exercise the power they have in molding their future. She said she stresses the importance of voting not only in the presidential elections, but in state and local races as well.
Andi-Kaye Walters, a sophomore biology major, said, “We’re the generation that will have the reins to leading the country in the very near future, so as future leaders we should use our voices in order to build a better nation with the future we want to see.”
Martinez explained that at the beginning of the school year students created an elections headquarters in the glass room of the Galleon Hallway. There, other students had the opportunity to stroll in and have a snack while registering to vote and learning more about elections.
She added that tabling around campus and at larger school events facilitated the process for students to register or vote between classes. In addition, tabling was an option for students to attain volunteer hours under the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE.) Students also advertised through social media posts, flyers and voting merchandise like stickers.
“If more young people get energized about voting and being civilly engaged than we will have a tremendous impact on molding and progressing our communities,” Martinez said. “If you don’t like a policy or think someone could do a better job representing you, then you should get out and vote.”
Thanelie Bien-Aime, a sophomore biology major, said she is registered to vote. “We need to recognize the power of our votes and take advantage of that right,” she said. “I, like many, used to think the presidential election was the only one that really mattered,” Bien-Aime said. “But I came to realize that it is essential for me to make my mark in all elections because our local and congressional leaders are just as important. They represent our beliefs and values.”
Miten Patel, a junior psychology major, said, “As we grow older, we tend to realize the importance of voting, but when it comes time to vote, we as adults don’t follow through with it. I think it’s important to realize how much could change and what can be affected by our votes as the ones who will be future leaders and have more influence as time goes.”
Patel added, “We have the power to make so much change in this country, but if we don’t use it, what’s the point?”
Seton Hall also has a partnership with TurboVote, a non-partisan digital platform that makes it easier for a student from anywhere around the nation to register to vote, Martinez said. Students can register for the first time, update their registration, request absentee ballots and receive election updates.
Kristel Domingo can be reached at email@example.com.