Want to Vote? Registration Deadline This Week
In this Sept. 26, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. For presidential candidates, the town hall debate is a test of stagecraft as much as substance. When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet in the Sunday, Oct.9, 2016, contest, they’ll be fielding questions from undecided voters seated nearby. In an added dose of unpredictability, the format allows the candidates to move around the stage, putting them in unusually close proximity to each other. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP, File)
With election day on Nov. 8, rapidly approaching, Oklahoma citizens have until Oct. 14 to register to vote in both the presidential and state elections.
College students sometimes do not know the processes of voter registration because of confusion or lack of access, but there are numerous ways for them to register, no matter their situation.
“Students can register to vote online at the Oklahoma State Election Board website, or they can register right here on campus,” Rachelle Thibodeau, assistant civic engagement coordinator, said.
There are also registration forms available at off-campus institutions such as tag agencies or the state capitol building.
— AASCU’s ADP (@ADPaascu) October 6, 2016
The University of Central Oklahoma has several organizations on campus that hold events to get young people registered and informed on the issues in the national and state elections.
“Our organization encourages students to register by setting up various voter registration tables throughout the semester. We also post about registering to vote on our Facebook, Twitter and OrgSync pages. Sometimes we go speak to classes about the importance of registering to vote,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau is an active member in UCO’s chapter of the American Democracy Project, and her organization partners with others such as the League of Woman Voters, UCO Voting Initiative and the UCO President Leadership Council.
Thibodeau said that she believes students’ votes really do make a difference and will affect day-to-day life.
“I hear many people say [their] vote doesn’t count, so [they] have no reason to vote. Imagine if every person you heard say this did go out and vote. Then this could be enough to swing the vote in an entirely new different direction—a direction that perhaps more people wanted,” Thibodeau said.
— ADP at UCO (@ADP_UCO) September 30, 2016
There are benefits to voting that young people may not have knowledge of and therefore feel they should not vote.
“[Students who vote] become more engaged, educated participants in democracy, and I love democracy; it’s a great form of government,” President of the Oklahoma chapter of the League of Woman Voters, Sheila Swearingen, said.
Swearingen believes it’s important for millennials and baby boomers to vote because people fought in the past for the younger generations to have a future.
“As a woman, I know there were people who worked hard to get the right to vote. People died for this so that my generation [and] your generation would have the right to vote,” Swearingen said
However, if a student is going to vote, then he or she should be well informed about what they are voting for. The ADP and the LWV provide a cheat sheet of sorts that contains information regarding the state questions and candidates.
“Students can pick up a decision sheet from us if they would like and fill in the blanks. Then, as long as the students keep this note to themselves, they can take it in with them to vote. Any other notes are okay, too. It is nice to be prepared in order to avoid voter fatigue,” Thibodeau said.
Hi Everybody, On Wednesday, September 28th, I submitted my responses to the League of Woman Voters New York State… https://t.co/zq4EplIBkn
— Henry Bardel (@Bardel4Congress) October 5, 2016
On this year’s ballot, there will be seven state questions involving issues such as education and law enforcement.
“The state questions are: SQ776 Death Penalty, SQ777 Agriculture, SQ779 Education Funding Tax, SQ780 Law Enforcement, SQ781 Criminal Rehabilitation, SQ790 Religion and the State, and SQ792 Alcohol,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau also said that students can find all the information they need regarding state questions, voter registration and the election at okvoterguide.com.