Students register to vote on campus

Kristen Maddox | Staff Writer | Nov. 20, 2019

BobcatsVote is promoting voter registration on and off-campus by tabling, hosting debates and educating prospective voters.

“I believe the easiest way to become politically involved, to get your voice heard, is to go and vote,” said Ruby Zimmerman, senior political science and rhetoric double major, and team leader for BobcatsVote. “Especially right now, we’re in a very divisive, political world.”

The nonpartisan group distributes voter registration forms by the fountain and during political events hosted on campus, like the Debate Between the Parties. BobcatsVote is active on campus most Tuesdays and Thursdays and can guide students through the process of completing these forms. 

If students cannot find BobcatsVote tabling or hosting political events, they can register instead by using TurboVote. GC pays for a partnership with TurboVote for students to easily register and keep tabs on their voter information.

TurboVote is a website that directs users to the proper channels, like government resources, to register to vote. They also track how many users have registered and send reminders about upcoming elections. 

According to the September 2019 National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, the voter registration rate at GC increased from 70.2% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018. 

The actual voting rate increased as well according to the study, beating the 39.1% for all institutions with a 41.2% voting rate at GC. This was an improvement in the voting rate in 2014, which sat below average at 13%.

To register, students need a valid driver’s license or the last four digits of their social security number on hand. 

“I think it’s important for people to be registered to vote because, especially young people, we are here and we’re being educated,” said Brittany Phillips, a junior history and political science major, and volunteer coordinator for BobcatsVote. “We do have a say and we just want people’s voices to be heard.”

I don’t think we ever would [see a 100% voter rate], but it’s slowly getting better and it’s very encouraging to see,” Zimmerman said.

The Student Government Association is run by elected students responsible for going the student body. They are tasked with addressing student concerns and delegating resources to various groups on campus. 

“To get involved [with voting] off campus, I would encourage students to look up what organizations exist in their community,” said Harrison Clements, president of the Young Democrats. “There is always something going on because politics affects everyaspect of our lives.”

BobcatsVote and other political parties are involved in social media to keep students in the loop with new events to get involved and get voting. Students can contact Phillips or Zimmerman to request access to their GroupMe, where they notify students of upcoming political events and elections.