The Governmental Affairs Committee of Student Senate will work with Greek Life and other organizations across campus to help students get registered to vote by the end of the semester.
At the Jan. 21 Student Senate meeting, Governmental Affairs Committee Chair sophomore Benjamin Kutz announced that Governmental Affairs was teaming up with Greek Life to get students on campus registered to vote before this upcoming election. Kutz said the goal is to get 65% of students in Greek Life registered to vote and then have Greek Life help to get at least 50% of all students on campus registered to vote.
Kutz said only three chapters have agreed to help get more students registered to vote on campus, including Alpha Sigma Alpha, Tri Sig and Sig Tau Gamma. Kutz also said that he is waiting to hear back from other chapters since they are just settling into the new year.
Kutz said there is a voter registration website called Turbovote, where people can register to vote online. In 2018, Governmental Affairs funded a Turbovote extension in Canvas, which helped 1,200 students register to vote.
Kutz plans to use this to cater to students’ busy schedules and the fact that some students don’t have permanent addresses in Nodaway County.
“The main idea for this was to get the program out there and make it a well-known name so that each year it makes it easier for students to register, because they will be like, ‘Oh, it’s that time of year again where I need to get on Turbovote,’” Kutz said.
Kutz said the plan is to contact organizations all across campus, including Greek Life, and try to get them to convince their members to register to vote either through Turbovote or in person. Kutz said if Governmental Affairs can get 65% of Greek Life registered to vote, they could use them to spread the word about the importance and the different ways to register.
“There’s at least one person that’s your friend and that is in Greek Life or affiliated with Greek Life,” Kutz said.
Kutz said Governmental Affair plans on bringing in the Public Relations committee and other committees to create a wider range of students to contact. Governmental Affairs will also use social media and have a campaign table out in the J. W. Jones Student Union to help spread the word about the importance and the ways students can register to vote before elections in November.
According to the U.S. Census, the voter turnout at the national level for people between the ages of 18 to 29 in 2016 was 46%. This was only slightly higher than the 2012 election, which the voter turnout was 45%.
President of College Democrats junior Spencer Owens, who is currently working in Jefferson City for Representative Gina Mitten, said in a phone interview he believes that Student Senate and Governmental Affairs is making an excellent move in trying to get students on campus registered to vote.
Owens said a lot of college students don’t know how to register to vote or where to go to register because it was not something they were shown how to do during high school. He said it is crucial that Student Senate is making the move to get students on campus registered.
“It should be as easy as possible to register to vote. When we start making it more difficult to register to vote, we start turning away potential voters,” Owens said.
Owens said he wants students to know that it is not hard to register to vote in Nodaway County. The University is within the County limits, which allows students to go to the County Clerk’s office in the Court House where they can register to vote that day.
Owens said he encourages students to go to get registered to vote or to make sure students are properly registered since the 2020 election year is such a big year with the presidential election and the congressional election.