Students get schooled in voting

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice began an out-reach program, Voter Information & Registration Project, an initiative to educate students on the new voting requirements and to clarify the misconceptions. 

Jacqueline Perkins, the program coordinator/placement director for the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, said students were misinformed about the requisite changes for voting and feared it would discourage students from voting.

In a collaborative effort with Obama For America Field Director Patrick Watson to register students, there was a voter registration table located on the second floor of the Benjamin L. Perry building for three days. 

She said students, for example, believe that if their address in Tallahassee is not the address on their ID, they can not vote.

 “What I’ve seen with people and hearing commentary from people saying they are not going to vote because their vote does not matter; they’re not going to vote because they do not want to go through the hassle; they are not going to vote because they are confused,” Perkins said.  

With the desire to inform students of the facts, she decided to approach students with a different method. 

 She, Watson, and Laquinta Alexander, a third year political science student, spoke to criminal justice classes located in the Benjamin L. Perry building to share that information and to alert them that there was a voter registration table nearby in case they needed to register or change their address to Leon County. 

She said Watson showed students how to fill out a registration form and told them if they do not show up to the polls without the proper identification, they will receive a provisional ballot. Watson explained with a provisional ballot, “there’s a 5 percent chance that the votes won’t even count.”

“You have to have something with a signature. It doesn’t have to be a driver’s license. They can have some form of a photo ID,” said Perkins. “You can have a passport, you could use your military ID.

If you have a California driver’s license, you must pair it up with your FAMU Rattler card, knowing that Rattler card does not have your signature.”  

Perkins emphasized that even though she collaborated with OFA, the effort was unbiased and bi-partisan. She said that she is not telling students who to vote for, as long as they register and vote.

She said vans will be made available to shuttle students to the court house for early voting starting Oct. 27.