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Midterm elections spur voter registration efforts

October 3, 2014

Recent political campaigns of all parties have been appealing to younger voters in recent weeks, including the gubernatorial campaigns of Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner, but according to the organization CIRCLE, only 41.2 percent of people 18-24 years old voted in 2012.

Several political groups on campus are taking an active interest in increasing the percentage, namely by targeting the first step: registering to vote in time for the Nov. 4 elections. Although there is a grace period in Illinois for those who miss the deadline, registration offcially ends Oct. 7.

“It’s your civic duty to vote,” said sophomore Jacob Marx, president of the Monmouth College Democrats.

At the Involvement Fair held the week prior to classes, the MC Democrats had a booth that helped 80 people register to vote for the upcoming election that, besides several national congressional races, also pits current Illinois governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, against Republican challenger Bruce Rauner.

This past week, the number increased when the American Association of University Women sat up a booth in Upper Stockdale to help all students register. Previously, the AAUW assisted with registration in the 2012 election and registered 82 people, according to member Jan DeYoung.

DeYoung and Alice Lawson estimated that 15 students had registered or changed their voting district by 12:30 p.m.

“The issues are so important to young people (like) minimum wage and the ability to vote, which is under threat in so many states,” DeYoung said.

“Traditionally turn-out in midterm elections has been poor … and if you’re not registered, you can’t vote. So this is just step one in trying to get the millennial front out.”

The booth also featured pamphlets outlining AAUW membership opportunities and an advertisement for Steve Buban’s Monday night lecture about the Equal Rights Amendment.

Instructions on registering to vote, where to vote, how to change districts, absentee voting and early voting can be found at elections.il.gov and rockthevote.com.

“This is a really big election,” Marx said. “(Some districts are) going to come down to the wire.”

Besides information on registration, students like senior Phil Buckwinkler, an intern for Rauner, also stress turning up to vote.

“It’s important that people vote because the principles of a democratic society state that it’ll only be as effective as its informed base,” said Buckwinkler, who has volunteered for two other campaigns besides Rauner’s.

“I think it’s important that people start caring about what they’re voting for and who their leaders are because we are a republic. We elect people who represent us. We need to hold our people accountable.”

Cassie Burton
Editor in Chief

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