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Students agree voting is ‘civic duty’

Rylie Curry, Staff Reporter

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Despite ideological differences, students of both main political parties agree on the importance of voting.

Michael Smith, a senior majoring in economics and finance, vice president of UA College Democrats and political director of the College Democrats of America, said the UA College Democrats likes to separate its voter registration efforts from its political persuasion efforts.

“We want to make sure that when we’re registering people to vote we act non-partisanly,” Smith said. “We will wear our democratic T-shirts, we will have our banner that says we’re the UA College Democrats, but we will register people regardless of political affiliation or ideological status.”

Ben Minor, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, attends UA College Republican meetings and said participating in political groups on campus is a good way to connect with like-minded people and learn about opportunities in local politics.

According to the UA College Republicans website, its mission is to inform the student body of the principles of the Republican Party, help members gain skills to better articulate the conservative message and provide opportunities for them to work within the party at both the local and national level.

“It is our civic duty, it’s important to have our voice heard,” Minor said. “If you don’t vote, how can you expect to see the change you want to see? You can’t complain about what you don’t agree with if you didn’t vote.”

Some students fail to vote as they are away from home and unable to travel to where they are registered to vote in time.

Sara Beth Bolin, a senior majoring in political science, anthropology and journalism voted in the 2016 election with an absentee ballot and plans to go home to vote early in midterm elections. Early voting allows voters to vote before election day at a set time and location where they are registered and promotes a higher voter turnout. Bolin said getting an absentee ballot may seem complicated or time consuming, but it was actually fairly simple.

“If you’re from out of state and not registered to vote in the state you’re in, I think it’s really important to vote with an absentee ballot,” Bolin said. “It’s our duty as citizens to vote, that’s our role in democracy. We can’t criticize it unless we actually have a voice in it. Even if it seems like your vote doesn’t matter, it really does. Those are the votes that are deciding factors in close races.”

Many groups on campus also participated in National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25. Smith said three groups worked together at the University to register voters, including the UA College Democrats, the Intercultural Diversity Center and Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE).

On National Voter Registration Day, Smith said the three groups were able to register over 70 people, and chapters of College Democrats across the state hope to register over 1,000 voters before the Oct. 22 deadline to register to vote.

In addition to participation in National Voter Registration Day, campus political organizations also promote voting through an avid social media presence and tabling, where organizations set up tables for students to walk up and learn more about voting.

To register to vote or learn more about voting and election resources, visit the United States government voting website at https://www.usa.gov/voting.

To request an absentee ballot or to learn more about casting an absentee ballot, visit the state’s secretary of state website.

 

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Students agree voting is ‘civic duty’