The Associated Students of the University of Missouri, the Missouri Students Association, Tigers Against Partisan Politics and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. held the Let Your Vote ROAR rally Monday in the MU Student Center. The event featured singers, dancers, games, raffles and guest speakers.
The goal of the event was to inform students about voting locations, times, candidates and ballot measures, as well as how ballot measures affect MU students. Students were shown the platforms of all the candidates, specifically those up for election in the state of Missouri. Nineteenth district state Senate candidate Mary Still made an appearance at the event.
“What we are trying to push is more local issues and candidates that students might not know about,” MSA Vice President Helena Kooi said.
This process has not happened overnight, as these organizations have worked throughout the school year to get students to vote. MSA has registered more than 5,000 students to vote in the past year, Kooi said.
Informational packets about the local candidates' platforms and the amendments on Tuesday's ballot were available to attendees.
Mike Middleton, deputy chancellor and MU law professor, stressed the history and importance of voting.
“A good deal of blood has been shed throughout American history so you could have the right and privilege to vote," Middleton said to the crowd. "You owe it to them to exercise your civic responsibility."
Voting, above all, was emphasized, challenging students to learn about the issues and to vote.
“Whatever your position on the issues, you are a citizen with a civic duty to make your voice heard," Middleton said. "This is the essence of our democracy.”
In a collective bipartisan effort by the separate organizations, information was constantly given throughout the night to educate people who would be voting the next day.
“I want people to be more aware of what they are voting for and who they are voting for,” Alpha Phi Alpha President Thomas Stovall said. “Voting awareness and excitement about voting is the goal.”
The event continued with poetry, more raffles and music from various performers.
The final performance was a duet by Maggie Sly and Brianna Boland called “Marry the Sea." Wally Pfeffer, in his fourth year as the chairman of the Mizzou Legislative Network Committee, gave the final address of the night to the crowd and told several personal stories about voting.
The message was constant throughout: Go out and vote.
“I want students to go out and vote, and I want this to be a positive experience for everyone, and I want everyone to remember their first time voting,” ASUM President Roshaunda McLean said.
The importance of each individual vote was stressed at the end, reminding those in attendance their votes do count.
“It should be important to you because you never can tell when it can make a difference,” Pfeffer said.