To increase political involvement in school for the recent midterm elections, outreach campaigns by the political science department and the VIDA office engaged students’ involvement to spread voter awareness.
Ultimately, they were a success, with over 800 new registrations based off of a single “voter registration” campaign done by political science students.
“While the numbers of registrations are great, the more important activity was getting people to not only register but to vote,” said Jim Nguyen, a political science professor. “That is where the why voting matters cards come in.”
The why voting matters cards are also given to students to implement, by finding registered citizens and obtaining their contact information and reasonings for why voting is important to them.
This is then handed over to the VIDA office, which engages these citizens through phone or email to encourage their vote.
“Getting people to vote is hard. I called a lot of people during my phone-banking and most of the responses were poor,” said Jordan Covington, 20, a musical theater major who enrolled in a political science class.
The VIDA office, in particular, recognizes the difficulties of encouraging voters and hence used the why voting matter cards to analyze the demographics of people interested in voting.
“Its an experiment,” said VIDA director Cynthia Kaufman. “Voting is not a practice for some people, especially for the younger generation and it skews results and disenfranchises.”
A key reason Kaufman points out for the lack of voting is the presented difficulty of the voting process.
“We get questions all the time about how to even figure out balloting,” said Kaufman. “It can be a daunting task when it looks so complicated and tricky.”
Thus for the recent midterm elections, two forums were held on campus beforehand to guide students on how to ballot for the actual voting day.
It was another success, with many students showing up to learn to the ballot and also provide their political opinions.
“Its surprisingly not that hard,” said Rainie Mai, 25, nursing major. “It always looked like such a complex process but now I know.”