Student vote absent

Voter registration at the College was problematic this year because Student Government Association (SGA) members were unable to move into the College earlier due to budget cuts.

Michael Strom, SGA vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs, said SGA members were not allowed to move in a week earlier than everyone else, as they had in previous years, due to budget cuts. As a result, the voter registration drive was not discussed until the second SGA meeting, three weeks after it would have been discussed in past years.

In addition to the delayed beginning of the drive, there were scheduling problems. SGA worked with Lambda Theta Alpha when the drive started and members of both organizations sat outside Eickhoff registering voters for about four hours per day for three weeks, according to Strom.

Despite the delayed start, about 120 people registered. Their registrations were sent in the mail a week before the one-month registration deadline, with the exception of those who registered in Ewing. Those registrations were driven into Trenton by SGA members.

“We encouraged many people to register in Ewing because it is much simpler voting in a station close to (the College) than going home,” Strom said. “Because . we didn’t trust the speed of mailing, the only registrations we did close to the one month mark were (in the) Ewing area.”

For some first-time voters, however, registering in Ewing was an issue. Kaitlin Drew, freshman deaf education/English major, was told to register in Ewing after asking about an absentee ballot. However, Drew does not have a car on campus and thus had no way to get to the polls.

“I was disappointed that I missed the opportunity to vote because of misinformation,” Drew said.

“Everyone who registered outside of Ewing should have come back to get an absentee ballot or should have gone home to vote,” Strom said. “If people were unable to get to the polls, they should have registered at home and applied for an absentee ballot, or arranged with someone to help drive them.”

An absentee ballot drive was also held by SGA. The drive included sitting outside of Eickhoff for a week and creating drop boxes in the residence halls, Strom said. These were mailed out in two shifts – one on Oct. 23, and the other on Oct. 27. Absentee ballots were due Oct. 31.

Although an absentee ballot drive was held, some voters felt they did not receive enough information.

“I registered in my hometown and I wanted to fill out an absentee ballot,” Brianna Glynn, freshman biology major, said. “But I wasn’t sure how to do that and I wasn’t able to find out any information that was readily available from the school.”

Strom said the voting drive held this year was bigger than ones held in previous years.

Despite the increased SGA efforts, voters such as Qasim Husain, freshman biology major, felt not enough was done on campus to encourage voting.

“I never even heard anyone on campus even talk about voting or the election,” Husain said. “It is pretty sad the school and organizations here did nothing to change that.”