The Maneater

MU student volunteers organize voter registration event for National Voter Registration Day

MU organizations collaborated in helping students register to vote for the midterms.

Through the combined efforts of five organizations — Associated Students of the University of Missouri, Missouri Students Association, Campus Election Engagement Project, Mizzou Democrats and Mizzou Republicans — volunteers at MU organized a campus-wide voter registration event on Sept. 25.

Sept. 25 marked National Voter Registration Day, a national holiday started in 2012, which aims to inspire democracy by ensuring Americans have an opportunity to register to vote. Ever since the holiday’s founding, MU students have held campus-wide voter registration events, registering around 2,500 students each election year.

Volunteers ran registration tables at four campus locations: Tiger Plaza, MU Student Center, Speakers Circle and Memorial Student Union from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students visited the tables, particularly in between classes, to register and ask general questions about the voting process.

“It is our focus to register students to vote, but also this year ASUM is partnering with MSA, the Campus Election Engagement Program, Mizzou College Democrats and College Republicans to reach out to more students and engage them in voting, no matter their political preferences,” Andrew Goewert, ASUM president, said.

Historically, people ages 18 to 24 don’t vote. According to a study done by Pew Research Center, the younger a generation is, the smaller their voter turnout in midterm elections.

“In the 2014 midterms, only 5 percent of students registered to vote actually voted,” Goewert said.

This reasoning is a driving force behind why the organizations are aiming to register 2,000 students before the Oct. 10 registration deadline.

“I feel like it's really easy in college to be in a little bubble that says, ‘This doesn't affect me because we’re all just in college and it’s not the real world yet,’” Elita Nelson, chief of staff for MSA, said.

Goewert said that elected representatives can have a say in issues that affect MU students, giving them plenty of reason to vote during the midterms.

“The person that you vote for to represent you at the state legislature, for example, has a hand in determining funding for the university,” he said.

For Nelson, inclusivity is also an important reason for registering students. One of the MSA’s main goals is to recognize privilege, different identities and intersectionalities. Issues such as these, she said, “Must be considered when implementing policy.”

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | crosen@themaneater.com

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