George Washington University will celebrate National Voter Registration Day with an event to promote student voter registration and participation.
By Briahnna Brown
With midterm elections quickly approaching, George Washington University students are encouraged to participate by first registering to vote.
Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, and the GW Votes taskforce will host an event from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Marvin Center's Continental Ballroom. Students will be able to sign up for TurboVote, a service that provides everything they will need to cast an absentee ballot or vote locally. The service also provides election reminders to help students keep track of important dates.
Students can also meet and connect with politically active student organizations at the event, and food and refreshments will be provided.
“I have seen firsthand how dedicated GW students are to making a difference in the world,” GW President Thomas LeBlanc said. “One of the most important things we can all do is exercise our right to vote. I urge all of our students to register, vote and encourage others to utilize one of the most important rights we have as citizens of the United States.”
Politically active student organizations such as the GW College Democrats and GW College Republicans also spoke on the importance of voting in every election, no matter for whom students choose to cast their ballot.
"Voting is the foundational aspect of any democracy,” Luke Briggs of the GW College Democrats said. “It is one of the factors that facilitates the peaceful transition of power in our society, and ensures that we all have a voice. When you chose not to vote, you chose not to be heard, so vote!”
“We are privileged to have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Caroline Hakes of the GW College Republicans said. “No matter who you support in the midterms, your voice matters. As students at one of the most politically active schools in the country, GW students should lead by example and exercise their right to vote on Nov. 6th.”
Amy Cohen, the executive director of the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, said that the GW Votes taskforce wants to make the voting process easier for students, especially because for many students it will be their first time voting.
“As a national university, we draw students from all over, and we want to help them through the sometimes-cumbersome absentee voting process, so they can get started on a lifetime of voting,” Ms. Cohen said. “The first time you vote really is a rite of passage that we support and celebrate.”
In the 2014 midterm election, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, 19.1 percent of college students across the country voted, while 21.6 percent of GW students cast their ballots that year. Voter participation is higher in presidential election years, according to the study, with 57.9 percent of GW students voting compared to 50.4 percent of all college students.
The GW Votes taskforce hopes to see 30 percent of GW students vote in the 2018 midterm, and 65 percent of students vote in 2020.
To accomplish this, the taskforce will be hosting a series of events leading up to Election Day:
- Sept. 26: GW Votes and the George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum Present: Celebrating and Envisioning the Four Freedoms
11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Conference Room at George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum
This bipartisan event, through activities and dialogues, will give students the opportunity to share their thoughts on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “four freedoms”: freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Voter registration will be available during the event. Register to volunteer.
- Oct. 1, 3, 10 and 15: #GWVotes Tabling
10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Marvin Center First Floor
Register to volunteer.
- Oct. 3: School of Public Health Voter Registration Drive
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Milken Institute School of Public Health
Voter registration will be available at the entrance.
- Oct 18: Party at the Mailbox
Students can mail in their absentee ballots through the U.S. Postal Service at the Party at the Mailbox. Meet with politically active student organizations and enjoy food and refreshments. Register to volunteer. Student organizations can request a table through Jovanni Mahonez at [email protected].
- Nov. 6: Election Day Party at the Polls
11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Square 80 Park, between South Hall, Guthridge Hall and Strong Hall
Food and refreshments will be served at this Election Day celebration. Register to volunteer. Student Organizations can request a table through Jovanni Mahonez at [email protected].