Groups encourage voter turnout


Angela Mauroni

Heather Bosau, ’17, tables for the Center for Political Participation to register students to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.

Allegheny College gave students the opportunity to register to vote through the collaborative effort of the Center for Political Participation and the Andrew Goodman Foundation by tabling on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Tables were set at both McKinley’s Food Court and Brooks Dining Hall.

“The goal of the event was to get as many students as possible registered to vote,” said Zachary Callen, director of the Center for Political Participation and associate professor of political science.

According to Callen this year more than 100 students were registered to vote. Past years have also been successful, but according to Callen this year the CPP is working with other groups in order to make a more sustained effort.

“Really, this is the work of the Andrew Goodman [Foundation], and they’re doing fantastic work and we are happy to help support them,” Callen said.

AGF is an organization that trains students to encourage student participation in voting at their colleges.

Callen described voting as a “critical civic duty” and that it is how people can get their voices heard and influence policy.

Emily Wilson, ’19, agreed that the voice of the public is crucial.

“If you don’t vote, you have no real right to complain about the state of things because you didn’t even attempt to change them,” Wilson said.

Imani Prince, ’16, who worked one of the tables where students could register, agreed that it is important for students to register to vote.

“It gives you the chance to participate in putting someone you support into office, a lot of people died for our right to vote,” Prince said.

However, Prince is aware that most students do not participate in voting, from students being lazy, to having negative stigma about politics. They may also feel their vote does not matter, or they may simply not care.

“It’s unfortunate because that’s how policies can change…through democracy,” Prince said.

Callen said there is another possible reason why students may not be voting as much that has nothing to do with their level of interest.

I think students don’t vote or don’t register because often being a student means having a really unstable life. You’re moving a lot, and it’s not always easy to keep up your registration when you’re so mobile,” Callen said.

When it came to sharing who they were voting for, some students, like Prince, wanted to remain partial, not quite ready to say who they were leaning toward.

The 2016 presidential election will begin in Pennsylvania on April 26 for the primaries.