SU and local community encourage student voting

SU encourages student voting

Onondaga Votes and Cuse Otto Vote are among the initiatives aimed at increasing youth voter participation.
Published: October 2, 2020
Students can find drop boxes like this at Bird Library, the Barnes Center, and the Goldstein Student Center.
Voter registration forms are available for students at SU's Barnes Center.

With less than a week left to register to vote, Syracuse University and the local community are working to encourage student participation in the November election.

The Office of Government & Community Relations at SU has set up drop boxes for voter registration forms at Bird Library, the Barnes Center and the Goldstein Student Center. These forms must be filled out by Oct. 8.

SU’s Student Association (SA) has started an initiative called Cuse Otto Vote aimed at increasing youth voter participation at the college level. In the 2016 presidential election, only 46.1 percent of people ages 18 to 29 voted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The initiative has purchased an application called TurboVote at SU, said David Bruen, SA chair of the board of elections and membership. The app helps students register to vote and request mail-in ballots.

SA President Justine Hastings said this initiative is partnered with:

  • Project 444, SU student-athletes looking to increase voter turnout
  • Syracuse NYPIRG, an advocacy group on campus looking to educate the SU and ESF student body in the field of politics
  • Residence Hall Association

Bruen said the initiative is focused on increasing civic engagement within the entire campus community.

“It’s also about raising civic engagement and empowering citizens with the knowledge and tools to be effective voters in the future,” Bruen said.

In accordance with the Higher Education Act, SU students received an email on Sept. 23 with information on how to register to vote.

In the Onondaga community, Onondaga Votes is also working to increase youth voter turnout and educate those who may not know they have the ability to vote, member Chanel Turnquest said.

“We have been actually door-knocking, educating people about voting,” Turnquest said.

According to Turnquest, long wait times and proof of identification have discouraged students from voting in the past.

“Needing ID is a way of disenfranchising the college student if you need a state ID,” Turnquest said.

Turnquest and Onondaga Votes encourage SU students to vote and hope to increase voter turnout in the community.