Central Votes holds 'Fire Up the Vote' event on National Voter Registration Day
Almost a year out from the 2024 national elections, Central Votes provides information on voter registration
This November marks one year until the 2024 presidential elections. That ballot will also decide state-wide elections. Campaigns and organizations across the country have been hard at work to increase voter turnout in key demographics, especially the youth.
One such organization is Central Votes, a Central Michigan University registered student organization (RSO) that describes itself as a non-partisan organization seeking to educate students on voter rights and voter suppression.
Avery Harbison, the secretary for Central Votes, said: “I think one of the most important things when it comes to youth turnout is making sure that, especially for a lot of first time voters, the information is accessible.”
That, they said, is the purpose of Central Votes’ annual Fire Up the Vote event, which was right outside the Park Library. With a large sign facing the street bearing the event’s slogan and a popcorn machine sitting upon a table nearby, it was visible to any students walking across campus.
Harbison said the visibility is part of the event’s strategy.
“You also have to make it as attractive as possible,” they said, in regards to making the event and the information it provides accessible.
That sentiment was echoed by Carson Cooley, the president of Central Votes.
“I think it's important to meet students where they are instead of hoping that they come to you," he said. "So being right (outside the library) in a prime location of the university is a great way to get students here, give them information about voting and then register them to vote,”
While a key point of the event is to increase voter turnout and get students registered to vote, Harbison said this isn’t the only goal.
“We kind of throw the whole event to try to get as many students (as possible) to actually interact, and then hopefully… think about this later on… because voting is also habit forming," they said. "So it's not only serving to get students engaged now but (to) them engaged throughout the rest of their lives.”
Sept. 19 is Voter Registration Day, a day created by a bipartisan group of officials to address issues that affect voter turnout, according to the holiday's informational website.
“In 2012, a group of democracy-dedicated organizations and election officials put their heads together to answer a seemingly simple question: how can we ensure more eligible voters are registered to vote and ready to actively participate in our nation’s democracy?" According to a statement on the joint website of Secretaries of State Michael Adams of Kentucky and Steve Simon of Minnesota.
Despite the two being part of opposing political parties, with Adams a registered Republican and Simon a Democrat, the coordinators recognize that the issue of voter turnout is not one dependent on political ideology.
“No matter our background or political beliefs, we know that in order for democracy to work for all of us, it must include all of us,” the site echoes in a later statement.