Presenters to Discuss Voter Turnout Issues during Campus Forum

Presenters to Discuss Voter Turnout Issues during Campus Forum

Two state politicians are among the presenters planning to discuss voter turnout issues during an upcoming forum at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Sen. David Holt and Rep. David Perryman will attend the University of Central Oklahoma’s Voter Forum on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 to speak to students about topics concerning voter issues and participation. (Photo/ 

The University of Central Oklahoma will host a voter issues forum on Friday January 20 in the Nigh University Center ballrooms, partnering with the Oklahoma Academy, the League of Women Voters, and the Oklahoma State Election board.

The forum will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. and there will be a luncheon from noon to 1:15 p.m.

The event is free, but the luncheon requires registration.

There will also be a viewing of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration speech at 11 a.m. Anyone in the community is welcome to join and watch.

During the forum there will be presenters discussing voter issues and election participation.

There will be twenty presenters discussing different topics about voter issues and how to improve our state’s low voter participation.

Presenters include Sen. David Holt and Rep. David Perryman. There are also many UCO professors who will be presenting.

Dr. Mark Kinders, vice president of public affairs at UCO and chair of the forum, said that this event is open not only to UCO students, but also the general public.

“We are strongly encouraging UCO students to participate in those sessions they are able to attend, and some faculty in some classes are encouraging their students to attend.”

He added that this event is set as a Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) leadership and civic engagement event. This means students who do attend will receive STLR credit.

Kinders said that the forum was the outcome of a continuing conversation between community leaders. For almost a year they discussed how to increase voter awareness of issues confronting Oklahoma and to encourage people participate in the election process.

“It was particularly stimulated by the fact that in last November’s general election at one time there were plans to consider more than one hundred ballot measures, on everything from farming to sales tax increases to support teacher salaries.” Kinders said that the complexity of each issue was difficult to understand, and when voters do not understand an issue, they typically vote “no.”

Oklahoma has some of the lowest voter turnout in the nation.

Kinders and fellow community leaders concluded that Oklahoma is in dire need of a statewide conversation.

This sparked the idea for a forum and a decision made by the Oklahoma Academy to focus its Town Hall in October 2017 to the same issues. The Academy annually holds a three-day discussion on critical issues confronting Oklahoma.

Kinders says the main purpose of this event is to reverse the declining trend of Oklahomans who participate in the elections process.

“Oklahoma faces critical issues for its future. Who decides public policy in the state is a direct result of what happens on election day.”

Those interested can register for the luncheon and see the full list of presenters here.

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