National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday is the focus of multiple groups on campus who will be registering and informing students on voting in the midterm elections.
Eight non-partisan campus groups, including Student Government’s Civic Engagement Committee and the 'I Am a Voter' campaign, will be registering students to vote at three different locations on campus.
Voter registration tables will be held at the Sloss House from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., outside the UDCC from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and inside Parks Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“[National Voter Registration Day] is a national holiday to help people register to vote for the first time, update their registration or learn more about how to vote if they already are registered,” said Kathryn Walker, Iowa State student and founder of the I Am a Voter Campaign.
Walker said the campaign is a culmination of all civic engagement resources and organizations on campus.
While Student Government’s civic engagement committee works to educate voters on candidates, elections and voter engagement, Walker said the 'I Am a Voter' campaign looks to change the culture behind voting from something people do to something people identify themselves as.
“Lots of other school’s civic engagement committees have had success rebranding voting as part of students' identities, and that is what we want to do as well,” Walker said.
To accomplish this, the campaign is partnering with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Election Engagement Project, Catt Center for Women and Politics, League of Women Voters, Politics at ISU and Save the Children Action Network. These groups will help register and educate voters on which elections will be on the ballot and the importance of voting.
“We want to combine all of our resources between the different civic engagement groups on campus to bring cohesiveness to groups that don’t typically have cohesiveness,” Walker said.
All of the groups working within the campaign and participating in Tuesday’s voter registration efforts are non-partisan, but Walker said they were approached by other partisan groups as well.
“We will try to help them, as in we will get them any resources they need and we will do that equally between both parties and all parties,” Walker said. “We try to start the conversation and preface it with the fact that we don’t align with a party because we don’t want people to think we are giving them information to help one party over the other.”
Making sure every voice is heard is why Walker said these voting efforts are important. While many students are apathetic to the voting system or think their voices aren’t heard, Walker said the government still impacts areas of our lives that most people never think about.
“For example, the government mandates when people are at school and for how long,” Walker said. “A lot of other things are part of our daily lives and managed by the government in some capacity. It is up to us, the voting populace, to make our voices heard.”
There are other efforts Walker said the campaign is working on to register voters, including talks with Iowa State Athletics to get athletes, who have a larger audience, to endorse voting. They also have plans to build a float at the Iowa State Homecoming Parade as well as partner with Iowa State Theatre and different colleges to promote civic engagement amongst majors who have a low turnout.
“We are trying to attack it from all angles, because it is not just one thing where you can register voters,” Walker said. “While setting up a table to register voters is helpful, if you make it something where more people are involved, they will be more likely to turn out to the polls."