77°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

National Voter Registration Day

A+student+signs+up+to+vote+on+National+Voter+Registration+Day.%26%23160%3B

A student signs up to vote on National Voter Registration Day. 

Tuesday, Sept. 24—The University of Massachusetts Boston Vote Coalition celebrated National Voter Registration Day by offering the opportunity for students to register to vote.

In the Campus Center in the morning and the Residence Halls in the evening, volunteers from MASSPIRG, representatives from Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and members from College Democrats and College Republicans asked passing students if they were registered to vote. To those who said no, they offered the chance to register on a laptop right there. Throughout the day, the Vote Coalition encouraged over 80 people to register to vote, while reminding many more of the importance of registering before the deadlines.

“I think it’s important [that we do this] because a lot of people don’t know how to register, or they think that they have to pay to register,” said Macy Jones, on behalf of USG. With a laptop and a government-issued ID, registering to vote only takes a matter of minutes. Many U.S. citizens forget when registration deadlines are for local and federal elections and, as a result, miss out on the opportunity to vote on policies that directly impact them. Young voters are particularly susceptible to low voter turnout on election days, and the Vote Coalition wishes to remedy these outcomes.

The Coalition, comprised of the four aforementioned groups, shares enthusiasm for encouraging fellow students to vote. Student Trustee Kush Patel emphasizes the importance of students registering since, “many students have concerns about who is running for office, so we want to make sure that their concerns are heard.” Kaitlynn Castillo, President of College Democrats, shares this sentiment: “Our generation will be most affected by the long-term effects of the policies and officials we vote on, so we should go out and make sure to give our input.”

In addition to promoting registration, Representatives from MASSPIRG held clipboards with an email list that students could join. The organization, a student group that works state-wide to promote social change, sends emails to remind and update students on important information and dates for voters. Ian Phipps, MASSPIRG’s Campaign Coordinator, said the goal of the event was, “to include everyone to register as many people as possible,” which resonates with the organization’s bipartisanship.

According to the official website of National Voter Registration Day, “60 percent of voters are never asked to register,” which can greatly decrease voter turnout. These multi-partisan organizations on campus promote voter participation so that students, “are prepared to vote when the time comes,” said Patel. Similarly, College Republicans President Kelsey Hale said, “It’s important for everyone who is able to register to get registered to vote and actually go out and vote.” Hale also believes that the multi-partisanship of the Coalition allows the groups “to work and be accepted within our community.”

Reminding students to register to vote is a small part of what these organizations do on a regular basis. In their own ways, these groups inspire student leadership and participation in local and national politics. The events and meetings held by each of these groups encourage student participation and strive to make students’ voices heard. Their collective influence and enthusiasm, channeled into the Vote Coalition, creates a collaboration of student leadership on campus that aims to positively impact the community. 

If you’re interested in joining any of these organizations, you can visit umb.edu/beinvolved to find their meeting times and other upcoming events.