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Voter Education Week encourages smart voting practices

| Tuesday, October 4, 2016

With the presidential election almost one month away, NDVotes, a campus club which promotes political engagement and informed voting, is hosting its Voter Education Week to help students reflect on the importance of voting and make educated decisions in their voting. For many, this week is the last chance to register to vote and NDVotes hopes to help students meet this deadline.

“It’s a very strategically placed week because, this being the first week of October, there are a lot of deadlines this week for voter registration for the Nov. 8 election,” junior Sara Tomas Morgan, NDVotes task force leader, said. “This week is really a lot of people’s last chance to register if they want to vote in the Nov. 8 election.”

Tomas Morgan said the club decided to host the week now because of approaching deadlines.

“We wanted to do a big push to get out and vote this week and then transition from voter registration to voter education, which is another very crucial part of being a voting citizen,” she said. “We thought of the first week of October as the week for all of these deadlines and transitioning from registration to education.”

According to junior Michael Finan, NDVotes task force member, said the week began with a presentation by Patrick Deneen, associate professor of political science, and Daniel Philpott, professor of political, on how to cast an educated and informed vote.

“We picked two professors who we believe will do a great job with taking students through the process of how to go about voting, how to consider your options, different theories on how to do that and approach voting in a very serious way,” Finan said.

According to junior Jack Kill, NDVotes task force member, the club wanted to focus more broadly on voter education than on specific political issues.

“For the week, even though it’s Voter Education Week … we didn’t want to focus on issues,” Kill said. “We wanted to broaden it out from what we typically — when we do education events — and we wanted to focus on why you should vote and how you go about doing so, how you go about forming your conscience, and thinking about what is important to you when you cast your vote.”

According to Tomas Morgan, NDVotes will host a vice presidential debate watch Tuesday.

“We’re working with the president’s office on the forum’s vice presidential debate watch which is at [9 p.m.] in the LaFortune Ballroom,” Tomas Morgan said. “There’s going to be Chick-Fil-A and then NDVotes specifically will be holding a debate debrief panel for half an hour after the watch.”

The club will also have a table outside of South Dining Hall on Wednesday during the lunch and dinner hours and Friday during the Sustainability Fair to help students register to vote, cast absentee ballots and learn about candidates running in their local elections. According to Tomas Morgan, the club will cosponsor an event Thursday with GreenND titled “Pizza, Pop and the Planet” to talk about climate change and politics.

Tomas Morgan said she hope the week will inspire students to become informed voters and take an active role in political engagement.

“My hope is that this week really helps students to buckle down and start looking at the candidates on the ballot because the most important part of being a voting citizen is forming your conscience to decide who you ultimately want to cast your ballot for in November,” she said.

Finan said he has seen a lot of indifference towards the presidential election and hopes the week will inspire students to become more excited about voting this year.

“From what my own personal experience is, I’ve noticed a good amount of indifference on this campus about the election, just between some of my peers, and some apathy towards who wins the election and news about the election,” Finan said.

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