Last year, The Telegraph reported that Mercer University students vote at a higher rate than their peers, but some student organizations hope to raise these rates even higher. Mobilize Mercer and the Iota Eta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. have spent the semester working to boost voter registration on campus.
Both organizations have been holding events and hosting tables around campus to help students register to vote in the November midterm elections.
“We would like to raise the voter registration rate to match that of the 2016 presidential election,” said Alexandra Kirschbaum, chair of the bipartisan voter registration club Mobilize Mercer.
That rate was 56.4, according to The Telegraph.
Kirschbaum said the organization wants to increase signups on TurboVote, a voter registration service aimed at students accessible through MyMercer, as well as defend Mercer’s rank in the Southern Conference voter registration competition.
“We also aspire to raise the midterm turnout rate from 28 percent to 38 percent,” she said.
Mobilize Mercer has appeared at important events on campus, holding registration drives and tables at move-in day, Bear Fair and Be A Good Neighbear. They host tables every Wednesday in the Connell Student Center (CSC) and have also coordinated presentations at Bear Beginnings and in University 101 (UNV) classes.
Alpha Kappa Alpha hosted tables on Cruz Plaza and in the CSC. These tables included members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) who work at polls, said Ashanti Griggs, program chair for AKA.
The sorority’s efforts helped 45 students register to vote.
“Whether we impact ten people or 100 people, anything is better than zero and every one (vote counts),” Griggs said.
Mobilize Mercer plans to continue helping students with voting after the midterms.
“We plan to keep this momentum alive even after these elections so students can continuously recognize the importance of being engaged in politics and voting,” Kirschbaum said.
The organization hosted a gubernatorial debate watch party Oct. 23 and plans to have an Election Day party as well. They also hope to provide shuttles to polling locations for students.
“Everybody is passionate about something, and politics is involved with literally every aspect of our lives,” Kirschbaum said. “Therefore, we should utilize our responsibility and privilege of voting as a way to advocate for those passions.”