EMMA PROE, Asst. Features Editor—This semester, Denison students are just as likely to find a voter engagement table at Slayter as they are to find a Chicken Avocado sandwich.
With the United States 2020 presidential election less than a month away, pushes for voter engagement have increased on Denison’s campus.
This can be attributed in part to the non-partisan campus organization DU Votes, organized by students Tait Ferguson ’23 and Jacob Rains ’21.
A variety of events are being offered in the period leading up to the election, ranging from volunteer opportunities to special events targeted to inform and register eligible voters.
Students looking to get involved can volunteer by tabling outside of Slayter, where they can help register voters, assist with ballot requests and answer questions about the voting process.
Other opportunities to volunteer include door-knocking in Resident Halls, canvassing outside of dining halls and text banking.
DU Votes also offers more informative events such as debate watch-parties and an election panel series which will discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racism.
The panel will be held Oct. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interested students can watch virtually or in-person in the auditorium on the third floor of Slayter. See page 2 for more information.
The response to DU Votes’ efforts has been generally positive. Volunteer Liam Waters ’23 commented that “from [his] experience, everything has been going well and campus seems excited to vote this year.”
The organization has been able to collect data that shines light on campus engagement through their online registration and ballot request tool, as well as through tabling and canvassing.
The data only represents the portion of students who are not remote this fall, as well as those eligible to vote (being both 18 years of age by the November election, as well as a U.S. citizen).
Out of the 1811 eligible voters who self reported, 1408 are registered to vote. 36.8 percent of those registered are registered to vote in Granville.
This is a notable decrease in students registered to vote in Granville from past years. Rains offered, “I would suggest this is partly because of the lack of emphasis on campus this semester that Ohio is a swing state.”
He explained the benefits of voting in Ohio as being able to influence not only the presidential election, but also Ohio’s 12th Congressional District election and the Ohio State Supreme Court.
He also presumes that registration in Granville has been limited by restrictions of on-campus events earlier in the semester due to COVID-19.
Looking at past years, Rains notes how the first weeks of the semester are crucial for voter engagement, with partisan groups registering hundreds of students at their Residential Hall address.
Despite hindrances from COVID-19, DU Votes perseveres to increase Denison’s voter engagement at a politically crucial time.
To sign up for any DU Votes events or to receive additional information, students can email the organization at [email protected]