The Student Vote Coalition and Florida A&M University’s Student Government Association have teamed up to register students for the upcoming election.
Beginning Wednesday, student representatives from the coalition will be performing in-class registration for students, with permission from the respective course instructors.
If the instructor wishes, students who are not registered to vote may be registered before class the beginning or end of class.
“We’re trying to have as many student representatives in as many classrooms as possible to register students.” said Andrew Collins, student body president.
The in-class student voter registration initiative was presented to President James Ammons, the Provost, Deans, Faculty Senate, and General Faculty.
All supported it.
Collins hopes the idea will succeed in registering new voters where more traditional methods have failed. “For the most part we feel that traditional methods of reaching students are not going to be as effective as we would like them to be,” Collins said. “But all students go to class, so that’s the best place to get them registered. We’re trying to register record numbers of Rattler voters by Oct. 6.”
Students also believe that the in-class voter registration will provide a great way to educate new voters.
“It is a good idea because most people don’t know where to go, or who to talk to in order to register…or they’re just lazy,” said Katherine Bermudez,18, a freshman from New York City. “So if a representative comes and registers students in class, people won’t have any excuses when it comes to not being registered to vote.”
In addition to registration, the Student Vote Coalition also stresses mobilization and education for voters.
The coalition hopes to mobilize voters by providing transportation to the polls.
“After the registration, the next part of course is to get students to the polls to vote,” Collins said. “So we’ll be doing shuttles between the university and the courthouse to get students to vote early.”
Students seem open to the effort.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Carlos Nathan, a public administration graduate student from Tallahassee. “We need as many people as possible to vote in this election because too much is at stake. Too many people have fought and bled for us to stay home on election day. Our people need to exercise their right to vote.”
With an historic election only six weeks away, many believe it is critical that students make their voices heard.
“Registration is the first step to voting,” Collins said. “It’s important to exercise your right to vote in this pivotal election. There is a lot of power in the student vote and its often under utilized.”