Every other year, election season is a bright spot amid the standard duties of keeping the gears of Student Senate greased year to year for the Governmental Affairs Committee.
In 2018, the committee helped 1,200 Northwest students register to vote through a TurboVote link in Canvas funded by the committee. Student Senate President Kirayle Jones led the initiative with his then Governmental Affairs Co-Chair Grace McCarty.
In this presidential election year, the committee again reached out to campus to encourage civic engagement.
Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Thomas Goldizen said the committee wanted to reach as broad an audience as possible this year, especially with many students needing to get registered and a ballot request sent as early as possible.
“My committee’s goals for this upcoming election have been helping to inform the student body of their right to vote and the importance of registering to do so,” Goldizen said. “We drafted an email that was sent out Sept. 28 to the entire student body to encourage students to register.”
The email linked to voter registration for all 50 states but focused on the four-state area: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Goldizen said the committee also created and posted a flyer that will be put up on the bulletin boards across campus with the QR codes for direct access to the four-state area voter registration sites.
Voting early is twice as much paperwork as voting in a typical election year. The committee brought Nodaway County Clerk Melinda Patton to campus Sept. 11 to help students register to vote outside the J.W. Jones Student Union and help students navigate the process of requesting a mail-in or absentee ballot from their home counties.
Patton said though only three students registered to vote that day, the team answered many questions about voting absentee or by mail.
Unlike most Northwest students who are eligible to vote in a presidential election for the first time this year, Goldizen is a nontraditional student with more elections and years of life under his belt. He said his views on voting haven’t changed, but he has gained a desire for younger students to think for themselves.
“It saddens me that the students who came straight from high school already have their minds made up for who they are voting for based on what they are told or who their friends are voting for without doing the research for themselves,” Goldizen said. “As adults now, it is important to make these important decisions yourself. Be a leader, not a follower.”
Voter registration in Missouri closed Oct. 7, but registration is still open until Oct. 13 in Kansas, Oct. 16 in Nebraska and Oct. 24 in Iowa.
“As a word of wisdom, if you want your voice to be heard, be sure to place a vote in the election,” Goldizen said. “If you don’t vote, your voice won’t be considered as important in most folks’ eyes. Let your voice be heard by casting your vote at the polls. Be the voice of change.”
For those already registered to vote in Missouri, the last day to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 21. In Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, the deadline for ballot requests is the same as the registration deadlines.
“As citizens, we have a great duty to fulfill within our democracy,” Jones said in an email to The Missourian. “I think it is more apparent than ever that we ought to get out and vote. Many people have fought for us to have this civic duty, and we hope that their work will not go in vain.”