The Student Life Committee held a voter registration drive on Feb. 18, to encourage students to register to vote. Students were able to use vote.org to register and check their voter registration status in the Galleon Hallway. Students who will not be home to vote were also able to request their absentee ballots.
The idea for the voter registration drive came from Chase Cohen, an ad-hoc on the Student Life Committee. She wanted to ensure that students were able to vote in primaries, especially for out-of-state students who have earlier primaries than New Jersey.
Carolyn Murray, Student Life chair, spoke about the importance of this event saying, “We just want to help students have an easier time in exercising their right to vote and having their voice be heard.”
Set up outside the dining hall in the Galleon Hallway, the students who worked the registration drive were asking students passing by if they were registered to vote. While most students were already registered, many still stopped to check their voter registration status or to request an absentee ballot to ensure their vote will be counted in the upcoming primary elections.
Sophomore journalism major Dylan Hunt was able to request an absentee ballot since he will not be able to make it home to vote in the primaries. “I liked being able to get my absentee ballot because I want to be able to take part in the primaries,” Hunt said. “But I won’t be home to vote.”
Many students shared their views on the importance of being registered to vote and their duty to vote.
Freshman occupational therapy major Gabrielle Kuper was already registered to vote, but said, “I think it is very important to get people registered because we as Americans have the amazing privilege of voting.It’s important that we take advantage of that privilege while also practicing a right we have that others don’t.”
Brigid Benko, a freshman from Pennsylvania, stopped by the table to register to vote and request her absentee ballot. “I think it’s great that they’re encouraging us to vote,” she said.
The vote.org website starts by asking students to put in their name, address, birth date and email address and then links them to the online voter registration from their home state.
Students were even able to update their voter registration status and change which party they wanted to register in if they chose to do so. This is important, as 12 states and the District of Columbia have closed primaries, meaning a voter must be registered as either a Democrat or a Republican in order to vote in the primary.
There are no current plans for a similar event on campus in the future, but for people who are unaware of their voter status, or want to change it, vote.org will allow a person to register to vote and request an absentee ballot from anywhere.
Rylee Nelson can be reached at email@example.com.