Various organizations around UNCG have been preparing the student body for an upcoming local election.
Student groups such as UNCG’s College Democrats and local organizations like Unifour One have been spreading the word about the November election and registering students to vote.
“It’s important that students are registered to vote because they’re the future,” said Miles Davis, who volunteers for Unifour One, a community outreach organization in Greensboro. “If they get out and vote, they’re be able to make sure that the lives they live in the future are what they wanted.”
Best Colleges cites that only 19 percent of people from the ages of 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 presidential election. The largest electorate, which was 49 percent of the voter population, was 45 to 64 years old.
“Every year we welcome many freshmen students, and a lot of them aren’t registered to vote because some of them are 17 and don’t know you can do early registration,” said Roger Cooper, the president of UNCG’s College Democrats and the Northern Piedmont Regional Director for College Democrats of North Carolina. “We’re registering voters and informing them about the local elections here in Greensboro.”
A “Voter Guide” pamphlet handed out by UNCG’s College Democrats in the Elliott University Center was part of the effort meant to inform students of their election choices. The front page of the pamphlet advertises that the primary is on Oct. 10 and the municipal election will be on Nov. 7.
“It’s extremely important for UNCG students to vote and get involved because, at least for the time that you’re on campus, this is your home,” Cooper said. “It’s important to be active, involved, engaged and aware of the things that are going on throughout the city, and to make sure that you hold [politicians] accountable to you as a university student because you are also a voting adult. That’s something that oftentimes, municipal leaders forget, and that’s something that UNCG is capable of reminding them of.”
Various municipal roles are up for vote in the upcoming election including mayor and city council seats. The city council positions include three “at-large” positions and one representative per district.
“I think the whole issue right now for a lot of millennials and college students is ‘how can I affect change?’ The only way you can do that besides going in the streets is to vote,” said Dr. Ruth DeHoog, a Political Science professor at UNCG. DeHoog has worked at UNCG for 27 years. “If you protest later and you never voted, I’m not sure you have a whole lot to stand on.”
According to DeHoog, the outcomes of local elections have a great deal to do with the everyday lives of students. Various things that students use daily, ranging from bike lanes to buses, are controlled by local politics.
“If you don’t vote and you don’t like the way that the city streets are cleaned or you don’t have a bike lane coming from your apartment, you really don’t have the right to complain in the way that somebody who has been engaged in [voting and politics] does,” DeHoog said.