AARON SKUBBY, News Editor — The Denison Voter Engagement initiative, also known as DU Votes, is a non-partisan, student-led initiative to encourage and assist students in the voter registration process.
While it is not uncommon to see voter registration tables around campus, DU Votes brings together resources from the Alford Community Leadership and Involvement Center (CLIC) with the diligent work of a team of students to focus entirely on promoting civic engagement amongst Denison students.
Students may register to vote in either their home county, or in Licking County at their Denison dorm address. If students want to request an absentee ballot, they must fill out a ballot request form and mail it to the local election office. DU Votes is available to help students at any point in the process. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 31 at noon. If you need help, fill out a form at bit.ly/DenisonVotes to receive assistance.
DU Votes is being led by Student Co-Coordinators Jacob Rains ‘21, a political science major from Silver Spring, MD and Tait Ferguson ‘23, a political science major from Shaker Heights, OH. Alongside the Co-Coordinators is an ever-expanding team of over 30 Student Ambassadors, which is a brand new program for the 2020 election cycle, according to Ferguson.
“Our primary goal is to reach as many Denisonians as possible, and having a diverse set of students who are educated on the voting process allows them to act as a vital resource for their friends, classmates, teammates, and fellow club members,” said Ferguson. He explained that a goal of DU Votes is to “have at least one individual confident in the voting process in every club, sports team, friend-group, classroom,etc. on campus.”
The importance of non-partisan voting education is key to DU Votes and their associates at CLIC. They also use partnerships with national organizations for help. Ferguson highlighted a newly formed partnership with Vote for Astra, a “free initiative that helps campuses implement a virtual text-reminder system to register students.” If you are interested in helping DU Votes with the initiative, visit this form link for more information: https://forms.gle/7Tohsos4FDytTpVd6.
DU Votes is encouraging people to use absentee ballots this election season to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and are well versed in how to complete the process.
The program has increased voter turnout and engagement on Denison’s campus significantly, especially during the midterm election and they hope to continue the trend for the Presidential election.
Keep an eye out for DU Votes on campus if you need help with the voting process. They will be holding virtual zoom meetings to help with any part of the registration process from 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST on August 18, 20, 25, and 27.