Student groups unite to encourage voting

Ellen Kirtner

Black United Students and the Kent State Chapter of NAACP have teamed up to help students get registered to vote in time for the fall election.

The registration drive kicked off Wednesday, and continues today and Friday on the first floor of the Student Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Elizabeth Ajunwa, BUS political affairs and grievances chair, and Chris Jones, the NAACP’s political action chair, both wanted to hold a voter registration drive this fall. They decided to collaborate on the project.

Ajunwa said she wanted to see more students make it to the polls this election, especially minority students.

“It’s just really promoting voting, no matter who you are,” Ajunwa said about the goals of the drive. “Just vote. Get registered and learn about how to get registered.”

While Jones said he realizes not all students are interested in becoming politically active, he wants interested students to have all the information and opportunity they need.

“The students that do want to get registered, I want to make sure they know there is a place to get registered on campus so at least we can get those students registered,” Jones said.

Jones and Ajunwa said this November’s election is especially important for Ohio, though they think students may be less energized because it is a midterm election. Still, the results of a midterm election can sway the next presidential election, Jones said.

Ajunwa and Jones said the groups plan to use the tables to help students get necessary information on absentee voting and other voting laws.

Don Jason, member of both BUS and NAACP, said he helped out with the voter registration drive to encourage community involvement.

Jason, a library and information sciences graduate student, said he thinks many students who have not registered before have misconceptions about the process.

“It’s just a half piece of paper,” Jason said.

He said he saw a lot of interest from the students on Wednesday while volunteering at the table.

While Rachel Patrick, freshman exploratory major, said she registered at the table Wednesday because her friend told her she should, Kayla Zatezalo said she has been meaning to register since turning 18.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever voted, so I’m excited,” Zatezalo, freshman fine arts major, said about this November’s election.

NAACP adviser George Garrison said voter drives are part of a long-standing NAACP tradition, both nationally and in Kent.

“That’s a historical function of the NAACP — to get involved with voter registration and voter education, to encourage young people to register and then go out and vote, to remind them of what their civic responsibilities are,” Garrison said.

Jones said any student interested in registering to vote should bring a driver’s license or state identification card to the table. Students from another county who are now living in Portage County for school can also re-register at the table to vote on Portage County issues.

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