ASUM encourages students to register to vote on National Voter Registration Day

Volunteers with the Associated Students of the University of Missouri helped register voters and provided voting information at various locations around campus.

The Associated Students of the University of Missouri held a campus-wide voting drive to promote voter registration on National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 22.

Spread across five locations, the organization had a total of 30 volunteers. The volunteers came from many different organizations, including Greek life and partisan groups on campus.

ASUM chose locations around MU’s campus that experience high student traffic. Volunteers tabled outside the Mark Twain residence hall, Southwest dining hall, Rollins dining hall, the Student Center and Memorial Student Union.

As well as registering voters, ASUM volunteers provided information and resources about absentee and mail-in voting to students who stopped by. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, requests for mail-in ballots have reached an all time high, with over 72 million ballots requested in this election cycle.

“I think it was a success,” said Lauren Bayne, ASUM director of programming. “We had so many positive interactions with people all across campus, across all majors and ages, just getting people excited about the upcoming election.”

Bayne said that the organization registered 120 students to vote on Tuesday.

Americans aged 18 to 29 have historically had lower voter turnout than other demographics, and ASUM aims to change that narrative by promoting civic engagement on MU’s campus.

While Missouri is a traditionally Republican state, the City of Columbia and Boone county tend to lean Democratic, allowing a diverse political background to grow at MU.

“We have students from blue states and blue cities. We have tons of rural students from predominantly Republican areas,” said Bayne.

Bayne said it is vitally important to have an active non-partisan political group at MU to represent every student.

As well as helping students on campus with civic engagement, ASUM strives to be a voice for the student body at MU. They send student lobbyists to Jefferson City to advocate for student and university issues, such as funding and anti-hazing policies.

With the Nov. 3 general election less than four weeks away, voter registration events in Missouri have greatly increased, like the drives hosted by the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals.

Boone County clerk Brianna Lennon said that 883 people registered to vote or reported an address change on the Missouri Secretary of State website on National Voter Registration Day.

Edited by Joy Mazur | jmazur@themaneater.com

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