National Voter Registration Day at MU pushes students to register to vote

ASUM and MSA come together to organize National Voter Registration Day event at MU to educate and register students to vote Sept. 24.
MU students and Columbia residents had the opportunity to register to vote in Speakers Circle on Friday thanks to a stand pitched by the Boone County Democrats. September 27, 2019, was National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Photographer Michelle Gutierrez

Associated Students of the University of Missouri, in partnership with Missouri Students Association, hosted an event for National Voter Registration Day across the MU campus to encourage voter registration on Sept. 24.

Registration booths were set up in the Student Center, Speakers Circle, Tiger Plaza, Lowry Mall, Rollins and Plaza 900. Throughout the day, student volunteers helped register MU students to vote.

National Voter Registration Day has been celebrated in communities across the country since its inception in 2012 to register voters who may not otherwise be aware of registration deadlines or processes.

ASUM President Sidney Steele helped organize the event as a part of ASUM’s broader goal of promoting voter registration on campus. She said the event was set up to catch students’ attention with food and music. She wants to draw in students who would otherwise not register. Steele emphasized the importance of getting more college students involved in the political process.

“Voting is the most direct way to be involved with the political process,” Steele said. “You get to vote on ballot initiatives, representatives. It’s how you tell people making decisions in our government what you care about.”

Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon said her office is making an effort to offer online resources that make the registration process more accessible. Lennon said despite these efforts, it can still be challenging to spread awareness about the voter registration process.

“Community partners, especially for National Voter Registration Day, are doing a lot to try to get people registered and informed about upcoming elections,” Lennon said.

MSA President Jennifer Sutterer said the registration event aims to break down barriers that may cause disparities in registration.

“In political participation in our society you see a lot of economic inequalities when it comes to voter registration and turnout,” Sutterer said. “What we aim to do on this day is to provide free and accessible resources to help students from any and every background.”

Steele and Sutterer both said recruiting student volunteers was an essential part of the planning for the event.

“It’s vital that college students share their opinions and participate in the political process,” Sutterer said. “We have students helping students. It makes the process a lot more accessible, a lot less intimidating.”

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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