Resources on, off campus can increase the number of students voting
Story by Kayla Harrell, Staff writer
As the November general election nears, students can make sure their voice is heard by registering to vote and making a choice at the poll.
“Voting is a way to honor our Founding Fathers as well as the countless men and women who have fought and died to preserve our great American way of life,” said Ellen Adkisson, vice president of Murray State College Republicans. “After all, freedom is not free.”
Antonia Faulkner, Calloway County clerk, said students can register to vote at the local courthouse, the public library and Murray State voter registration drives. Students can fill out a voter registration card for either their home or school address, but only one or the other.
“Since partnering with campus election engagement project, Student Government Association hosted voter registration drives during the first week of classes in August and we plan to host more as the semester continues,” Adkisson said. “Sept. 22 is National Voter Registration Day, and the Student Government Association will host a voter registration drive on that day as well.”
After registering to vote, the state will issue a postcard stating where the individual’s polling location is. There are 29 different polling locations in the city, but the two most prevalent for Murray State students are the CFSB Center and the University Church of Christ, Faulkner said.
Students can receive an absentee ballot if needed, but it depends on the circumstance, such as being out of town on Election Day.
Kentucky’s secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has put into effect multiple efforts on college campuses to bring voting education and awareness to students. According to Grimes’ election candidate information survey, these efforts include: “conducting election advisory meetings in every region, hosting 15 civic roundtables across Kentucky, updating our election laws, holding an annual essay and slogan contest and assisting students with voter registration drives.”
Drew Seib, assistant professor of political science, said last year 65 percent of college students registered to vote. However, only 28 percent voted.
“Students are a very large chunk of the population,” he said. “But so few vote that their impact is minimized.”
He said students interested in voting should have political knowledge of the current election.
“Students just need to be aware that there is an election going on,” he said. “Many students do not even realize that there is an election this November.”
Murray State has both Republican and Democratic political organizations students can become involved in. A Republican student can join the Murray State College Republicans, while a Democratic student can join the Murray State College Democrats.
Additionally, students interested in working as a poll worker should contact the county clerk office to be assigned a location, Faulkner said.
“We are always in need of workers,” she said.
The last day to register to vote for the general election is Oct. 5 and the general election will be held on Nov. 3.