UISG, GPSG hopes to increase student voter turnout through Voter Registration Week

As election season is well underway, UISG and GPSG hope to use Voter Registration Week to increase voter turnout among UI students.


Sid Peterson

A volunteer carrying voter registration forms is seen on the Pentacrest on Monday, September 17, 2018. Members of the University of Iowa ROTC read the U.S. constitution aloud in honor of Constitution Day.

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Student Government and the Graduate/Professional Student Government have teamed up to devise the first ever Voter Registration Week, hoping to engage students in voting and being involved in the election process.

The week will be filled with opportunities for students to register to vote and gain a general understanding of candidates, platforms, and why their votes matter.

The week kicked off on Monday with Constitution Day, including a reading of the Constitution by U.S. Army cadets at the Old Capitol at 11:30 a.m.

Along with the next week of activities and opportunities, on Sept. 25 — National Voter Registration Day — UISG, GPSG, and both political and non-political student organizations will set up information tables in Hubbard Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. stressing the importance of being registered to vote.

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UISG, GPSG, and other student organizations have worked to provide convenient campus locations for eligible people to register and learn information about the upcoming elections, said Connor Wooff, the UISG deputy director of governmental relations.

“Our generation makes up the largest voting bloc in Iowa, yet we are the least likely to vote,” Wooff said. “Now more than ever, the voices of students are critical to conversations surrounding higher education. If we choose to step up, get off the sidelines, and engage in our government, we can decide the future of our state and country.”

UISG and GPSG hope to expand the knowledge of UI students and maintain the conversation about candidates and their platforms, he said.

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The two have worked together on targeting large audiences on campus to make sure eligible people are registered and knowledgeable about the elections.

Voter registration and civic engagement are important priorities of both GPSG and UISG this year, GPSG President Dexter Golinghorst said. They have partnered to try to ensure that each student is registered to vote for November.

“Graduate and professional and undergraduate students alike have demonstrated tremendous interest in this year’s midterm elections, and we are excited to work with our peers to turn out the student vote this year,” Golinghorst said.

Along with voter registration, he said, an added emphasis on absentee-ballot requests will help educate UI voters who are residents from other states.

He noted that the university has joined an “All-In Campus Democracy” challenge to benchmark students’ civic-engagement rates with others all over the country.

Spots on campus for voter registration will include the Dance Marathon dancer meeting this evening, the City Council special election forum Wednesday night, on the Pedestrian Mall Friday morning, at Currier on Saturday, the Main Library on Sept. 23, and the Campus Wellness & Recreation Center on Sept. 24.

“Voting is a privilege and can make a huge impact on your cost of tuition,” said Jocelyn Roof, the UISG Governmental Relations Committee chair. “Every student should stay informed and vote in the upcoming midterm election — the choices made in Des Moines and Washington, D.C., have real and tangible impacts on your quality of education, so share your voice.”