Campus groups hope to get students set up to vote before Oct. 6

Nicole Stempak

Credit: DKS Editors

In anticipation of the election, organizations and departments are encouraging students to register to vote.

Steven Hook, chair of the political science department, said he wants students to register because “voting is a crucial element of any democracy.”

“We want to encourage our students to vote, and of course, they are unable to do so if they are not registered,” he said.

Lois Enlow, deputy director for the Portage County Board of Elections, said students need to make sure to update their records because of the precinct division of campus.

If a student switches residence halls, he or she may have switched precincts, Enlow said. Otherwise, the student will have to fill out a provisional ballot, which is a ballot that must be verified for eligibility before it can be counted.

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 6.

Department of Political Science

Hook said he suggested faculty take voter registration forms with them to class, which is in line with his goal of serving students beyond the classroom.

Voter registration forms are also available in the department of political science office, Room 302 in Bowman Hall.

University Library Reference Desk

Students can pick up and turn in voter registration forms at the library reference desk, said Joseph Salem, Jr., head of reference and government information services.

“Students get a lot of partisan people trying to get them to register them to vote,” he said. “But (it’s nice) just to give them a completely neutral place to register so they can just fill out the form and not have to hear from one side or the other while they’re doing that.”

In addition to Portage County registration forms, Salem said the library can help students with application forms for other counties and states.

“Any registration at all, they can come to our desk,” he said.

The Board of Elections has made the library an official voter registration location, which means the library can accept forms until 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

College Democrats

Vice president C.J. Williams said College Democrats have set up tables in the Student Wellness and Recreation Center and the Student Center. Members have also been walking around campus with clipboards to register students.

Williams said the group is in the process of recruiting members in different residence halls to post a sign outside their rooms, saying something to the effect of, “Are you registered to vote? If not, knock on my door.”

College Republicans

College Republicans will set up tables today and tomorrow outside the University Bookstore in the Student Center.

Treasurer Joe Derkin said the group will have its McCain signs visible but will register Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

“It’s very important to get everyone’s voice heard,” he said.

Undergraduate Student Government

Ronnie McArdle, director of governmental affairs, said USG will be having sporadic voter registration during the next month. USG will hold a week-long massive voter registration drive the week before the deadline.

McArdle said he is also coordinating early voting with the Portage County Board of Elections during that week.

Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].