KSU groups hold National Voter Registration Day rally

Brooke Forrest

Several Kent State organizations came together in Risman Plaza with a voter registration rally in honor of National Voter Registration Day Thursday.

Organizations involved included the Ohio Student Association, Undergraduate Student Government, Black United Students and the Men’s Empowerment Network. The event was a nonpartisan effort to register students and help inform them about the upcoming election.

“The goal of today’s event is to register as many people as possible (and) collaborating with local student and community organizations,” said Ryan Kreaps, Ohio Student Association’s regional field director, and a Kent State alumni.

Kreaps said the motivation for this cause was that many students and young people did not vote in the last major election in part because they were not registered.

To help incentivize students, the rally offered various games and prizes to those who were registered. Some of the games included ‘pie the candidate’ with photos of the major party presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and pin the tail on the elephant or donkey. Prizes ranged from free T-shirts to cupcakes, and a chance to win tickets to the upcoming Kesha-PartyNextDoor concert.

“We wanted to make voting more like a celebration, to make it something people were excited about,” Kreaps said.

Though the event had some initial issues due to windy weather, there were still plenty of students who got engaged by their cause

Elizabeth King, a sophomore botany major, got registered at the event because she had faced issues with voter registration in the past.

“I’m from Pennsylvania, and every time I’ve tried to register here it’s been confusing or there were problems, so I figured this would be a good way to finally get registered, ” King said.

King is one of the numerous students who registered at the rally She said she was glad she took part in what she described as a well-meaning event.

Keri Richmond, USG director of governmental affairs and senior public relations major, said that she was excited to bring together various student organizations to help celebrate this important event.

“When we got together we said it’s about the student’s voice and student’s choice, making sure your voice matters and that your choice matters in this election, that’s all our vision,” Richmond said. “We are happy to be collaborating to make that happen.”

All the organizations involved stressed the importance of voter registration and coming together regardless of politics.

“I believe registration and voting is very important because everyone has a say no matter the status,” said John Goff, MEN vice president and sophomore entrepreneurship major. Goff said he wanted to use the the event as a way to spread the word about his organization and to help students learn more about the election.

With the deadline to register to vote in Ohio fast approaching on Oct. 11, National Voter Registration Day and the rally are particularly timely. The event was an effort to use the day as a means to educate and help students who may have not registered and still need help to do so.

“We thought this it’s the perfect time to get students registered and to educate them about the importance of voting,” Richmond said. “It’s really about awareness, education, and civic engagement.”

Brooke Forrest is the student politics reporter, contact her at [email protected].