Mobilize Mercer seeks to increase participation in politics ahead of election


Image: Micah Howell

Freshman Devin Prather reads a summary of the second 2016 Presidential Debate in Jack Tarver Library.

Laurel Huster, Contributing Writer

To encourage more Mercer students to vote in the upcoming presidential election, Mobilize Mercer has helped students register to vote and hosted events to get them interested in the election.

The last day for Georgia residents to register for voting was Oct. 11. Residents could register online or in-person leading up to that date.

Mobilize Mercer’s goal was to get as many students registered to vote before then. They want to see all eligible students vote in the presidential election Nov. 8.

“We’re really trying to engage our students in the political process, because it’s a lot of people’s first time voting in a presidential election,” said Mobilize Mercer President Emily Thompson.

Mobilize Mercer wants to make voting fun because college students have the lowest voter turnout, Thompson said.

Thompson said that the reason she thinks voting is important is because it is a way for people to be heard.

I work on a couple campaigns and my boss was telling me about this one school board election, and the guy lost by one vote, and his wife didn’t vote. So, it just goes to show the importance of one vote,” Thompson said.

This semester, Mobilize Mercer’s Facebook page has encouraged students to get involved in the election by posting polls where students can share their opinions.

To encourage students to sign up, Mobilize Mercer had tables in the UC and Connell Student Center where students could register to vote during lunch.

There was also a TurboVote application on the homepage on MyMercer where students could register to vote online.

Mobilize Mercer is also planning on hosting presidential and vice-presidential debate watch parties.

Their first presidential debate watch party took place Sep. 26 in Willingham Chapel.

“We had over 60 people come out to our first debate watch party and I was blown away. I was not expecting that big of a response,” Thompson said.

The purpose of these watch parties is to engage students in the election by serving pizza and drinks to make watching the debates fun, Thompson said.

The watch parties also gave students a chance to register to vote if they had not.

On the day of the election, Mobilize Mercer plans to have an election watch party.

They will also be driving students to the polls if they need rides.

“I am registered to vote because I did it in high school, but I have to fill out forms to vote elsewhere if I don’t want to have to drive an hour to go vote at my local poll at home. So, I don’t vote,” said Mercer Student Geoffry Johnson.

On election day, Mercer students can vote at the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections office and the Macon Terminal Station.

Students can also request absentee ballots online. A complete guide from Google on how to apply for and send in an absentee vote can be found with a search for “how to absentee vote.” Georgia applications for absentee voting must be sent in time to arrive by Nov. 4.

“We know that the registration process can be confusing and difficult, especially for freshmen or students who have never registered before, so we help aid students in the registration process,” said Drew Winslett, a member of Mobilize Mercer.

General elections take place on Nov. 8.