The Nu Phi Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the Omicron Nu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., hosted a voter registration table to encourage students to register.
The event coincided with National Voter Registration Day, which took place Tuesday, Sept. 23 and is six weeks before Election Day in November. Too often, college students are told they cannot vote in a particular area because they do not have a state issued identification card, or do not realize they can do an absentee ballot.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to make a change,” said Maurice Walker, President of the Nu Phi Chapter.
The idea of voting was brought up by member Arma Taylor at a chapter meeting. Another member, Phillip Smith, took the idea and ran with it. Smith contacted UWG and aided in the assembly of the registration drive.
Because the votes from college-aged adults is so vital, both organizations decided to take matters into their own hands and got students involved.
“In addition to this being the week of National Voter Registration Day, we as an organization know that the right to vote is a substantial one indeed,” said Walker. “Young adults, on average, have particularly low voter participation in relation to older age groups. We want to put forth our best effort to help students exercise their right to be heard.”
It is important for the youth to start exercising their rights not only for their opinions to be heard, but also because it can become a habit. According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, young people are more likely to return to the polls after their first time.
“I think that it will give them the option to act or allow their opinions to go to waste,” Walker said. “I think that with the proper promotion and marketing of how important registration is, students will act.”
On Wednesday, students flooded the table and waited patiently for their turn to become registered voters. Though the magnitude of the event was small, the impact was large.
“As members of Phi Beta Sigma, we strive to achieve high, but even if only a few people register to vote, our event will be a success; those few are a few more that have the opportunity to exercise their right to be heard,” she said. “We have 25 page paper registration forms and four laptops for electronic registration. It is my hope that we get rid of all those forms and have at least two individuals at our table until the end of the event.”
For any students or faculty who are interested in voting and are not yet registered, there are plenty of resources and information available. To register, go to www.sos.ga.gov. Select elections and the top page and the screen will automatically scroll down to two red boxes. Click on the box that says “Register to Vote.” Participants will be asked simple preliminary question to start the registration process. To check voter registration status, simply click on the box that says “My Voter Page.”