Myki Dee Kim, Staff Writer
Saint Martin’s University took part in a nationwide voting registration drive on Sept. 24, 2019. The university’s participation coincided with the annual National Voter Registration Day that urged adults to register and vote, if they have not done so already. The nationwide event was also a challenge by the state auditor’s office to see which university registers the highest percentage of eligible voters. The top university will win the coveted Auditor’s Cup.
Upon turning 18 years of age, young adults across the nation are encouraged to take up their civic duty and participate in elections at both the state and national level. Young adults across the country have not only registered to vote, but have increased their turnout, as well. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2018 citizens between the ages of 18-29 had a 16 percent increase in voter turnout from 2017. This drastic increase is considered the largest point percentage increase across all voting eligible age groups. Despite the facts, citizens who fall between the ages of 18-29 are in the lowest voter participation category across all age groups.
National Voter Registration Day is intended to bring together communities, workplaces, schools, and public events to give accessibility for the voting age population to register. Across the nation, thousands of voters register to vote either online or with a physical application. This event also brings education to voters about the registration process, new voting technology, and different forms of how they can cast their ballots that best suit their own lifestyles. According to the National Voter Registration website, they state that this national event “is a day of civic unity. It’s an opportunity to set aside differences and celebrate democracy and the rights and opportunities we all share as Americans.”
This national event would not be possible without the help and support of volunteers who give up their time to encourage their peers and fellow citizens to take part in their civic responsibilities. There are roughly 10,000 volunteers across the nation who annually work to help encourage voters to participate in America’s democratic process. Saint Martin’s alone had numerous volunteers who assisted on the day of the event from a time span of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Saint Gertrude’s Cafe. Under the direction of Saint Martin’s very own Campus Life, volunteers took up registration tables with applications, buttons, stickers, and their personal knowledge of the voting process. Third-year student Kelsey Monaco was the polling booth volunteer during lunch hours. Monaco says, registering to vote gives individuals a voice and allows them to get involved in the greater community, and enabling registration on campus is an important asset to have because it gives students the opportunity to learn and take hold of voting resources on campus. Students were able to take applications with them and fill them out on their own time or complete and turn them in right at the registration booth. First-year student Francisca Anunobi, another volunteer, worked the booth during the dinner hours at the cafe. Anunobi reflected on when she turned 18 and shares, “I think that being 18 was big for me and the ability to hear all the policies that were happening. In order to make change, you need to be able to vote. Be vocal about what you believe in. Current policies tend to favor the older generation which is wonderful, but more turn out from the younger generation would allow another generation voices to be heard.”
Voting is an important part of being an American citizen. It allows individuals to take part in choosing our nation’s leaders, policies, and changes. As millennials prepare to take on the world in a few short weeks, months, or years, it is our duty to participate in our country’s decision-making and in the famous words of Thomas Jefferson,
“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”