Students who have not yet registered to vote do not need to worry about not having their voices heard in the upcoming election. There will be voting booths on campus on Nov. 8, the day of the 2016 Presidential Election that will allow individuals who have not registered to vote or who have not sent out absentee ballots to register and vote in the general election all in one day.
According to the Dean of Students Karen Donoghue ‘03, the town of Fairfield approached the University and asked if the University would be able to host Same Day Voter Registration.
President of the College Democrats Riley Barrett ’17 explained the concept of the booths.
“If say, ‘John Smith’ was a registered voter in Massachusetts, but forgot to apply for an absentee ballot, he may go to the [Lower Level of the Barone Campus Center], re-register himself in Fairfield, Connecticut and cast his vote all in the same day,” Barrett explained.
Voters who have already registered or those who have applied for absentee ballots are ineligible to participate in the Same Day voting booths at Fairfield.
In addition to having voting booths on campus the day of the election, there will also be shuttles to bring students to and from polls at Holland Hill School and Fairfield Ludlowe High School on Election Day if they are registered in Connecticut to make it easier for them to get out and vote, according to President of College Republicans Ariana Lenci ’17.
The voting booths on campus, which will be used by both students and members of the town community, will open at 6 a.m. on Election Day and will close at 8 p.m.
“The Office of Student Engagement is assisting the town with logistics, including hiring students to work the event,” commented Donoghue on the Same Day voting booths.
Donoghue supported the project because it makes it easy for students to vote who have not yet registered. She emphasized the importance of students voting.
Barrett agreed with the sentiment.
“This last minute registration system will allow [students] to recognize their agency on Election Day, itself,” stated Barrett. “The poll’s location minimizes student effort and hopefully its hype will encourage students to utilize their constitutional right.”
Senior Isabella Perkins also recognized the importance of students utilizing their constitutional right to vote.
“At 18, we start to have a legal obligation to get involved with our country’s government,” said Perkins. “We are now part of the population that gets a piece of the decision, depending on what we believe in and how we feel the country should be led.”
Lenci believed that having the voting booths in a central location will be worthwhile.
“I really think students will respond positively because I know many who are actively educating themselves and following the election,” said Lenci. “We have had an amazing turnout at our College Republicans meetings and are very happy with the amount of people talking about the issues.”
Junior Zerin Sattar believed that the voting booths are a great convenience for students.
“It makes it easier for people on campus to vote,” said Sattar. “A lot of people don’t have time to get out, especially since we all have busy schedules. I definitely think more students will be inclined to vote [because of the booths] because it’s such a convenience to them and they won’t have to drive off campus to vote.”
However, Oumy Badiane ‘19 did not believe that students will be more inclined to vote because of the booths.
“I think if people have made their minds up to vote already, then they were going to find a way to vote, even without the booths,” she commented.
Lenci was optimistic about the booths.
“Overall, I think it is a great idea because it is encouraging students to take action and to go out and vote,” she said.