Only 47.8 percent of students voted in the 2016 presidential election, and there are many cohorts on campus working to get that number up for this year. With the midterm elections right around the corner, the push for voter turnout at NYU is in full swing.
Head of Marketing for NYU Votes Jason Hollander said the goal has always been visibility and awareness.
“The first phase of this campaign was all about registering,” Hollander said. “Which, like all parts of the voting process, is different for a lot of people. Then we pivoted. We went all in on ‘now it’s time to actually do it,’ just keep that date open, know where you have to go, know the times.”
NYU Votes has held a number of pop-up events in anticipation of the election, and will be hosting another on election day from 3 to 6 p.m. in the lobby of Kimmel Center for University Life, where they will be giving out more merchandise and furthering the incentive to get students to go to the polls. Students can look out for NYU Votes stickers and posters all across campus, as well as their promotions via social media.
“Our goal has been two things, a lot of the work has been done in the past and now we just want to amplify as much as possible and make it as visible as possible,” Hollander said. “We just want to be facilitators so that students can let their voices be heard in the voting booth on election day.”
Hollander cited the Center for Student Life on the seventh floor of Kimmel as a great resource for students to get free stamps and envelopes for their ballots, and get personal consultations on how to register according to their needs.
On election day, there will be a number of on campus resources students can look to for assistance and updates. The Journalism Department will be producing a live broadcast on NYU Television on election night. The broadcast, staffed by NYU undergraduate and graduate students, is scheduled to air from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Professor Joe Peyronnin of the Journalism Department has high hopes for the broadcast.
“Hopefully it engages more students in the political process which the foundation of the American Democracy,” Peyronnin said in a statement. “It also gives students a platform from which to express the issues that are relevant to them. The broadcast gives participating students a chance to gain valuable experience.”
Peyronnin also spoke to the value of journalism and the free press during such a large national moment.
“The role of a free press in this democracy, as our Founding Fathers intended, is to enlighten the citizens so they can make more informed decisions on candidates,” Peyronnin said. “If more citizens participate, democracy is healthier and more robust. The journalism department’s coverage of the Midterm campaign and election underscores the importance and relevance of this critical process, the results of which will have an impact on their lives.”
Another group students can turn to on election day is the NYU Brennan Center for Justice which is working with a larger national movement called Election Protection. They will be staffing phones for anyone to call in and get their questions answered on election day.
Students can call 866-OUR-VOTE to speak to a representative. They will also offer services in Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.
Peter Egziabher, a program affiliate scholar at the Brennan Center who works as part of the Democracy Program, underscored the importance of the student vote this year.
“It is vitally important that students make their voices heard because you represent a demographic that is currently underrepresented in our politics,” Egziabher said.
“This affects the way your elected officials make decisions about you,” Egziabher said. “Whether it has to do with student loans, the cost of education, healthcare, public safety, reproductive. Students would really benefit from greater participation.”
Email Deets Sharma at [email protected]