As election season approaches, voter registration drives have been held on Troy University’s main campus to promote voter education and provide assistance on voting applications.
The Student Government Association held voter registration drives during September and October in order to help students prepare for the the upcoming presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Ashton Prouty, a junior political science major from Spanish Fort and STARS (Student Teams Advocating Realistic Solutions) Coordinator, said that after both drives, their registration goal was exceeded.
“SGA’s goal was to register 150 and we passed that goal by 39 people,” Prouty said. “189 voter registration forms were filled out and 256 absentee ballot request forms were taken.”
According to SGA, the purpose of the drive was to
register students and to instruct in-state and out-of-state students on how to apply for an absentee ballot. Prouty said that voter registration drives provide an easy way for first-time voters to get registered or for others to update their voter information.
“I think it is important for our students to register to vote because it is important that we pay attention to our surroundings,” said Olivia Melton, president of SGA. “If students know that they have a say in the outcome, they are more likely to stay informed, not only on the presidential candidates but also multiple city regulations/taxes that are voted on during those elections.”
The Office of Civic Engagement, located in Eldridge Hall, collaborated with SGA to host another drive in October, held outside of the Trojan Center.
Jonathan Cellon, coordinator of learning initiatives, said the amount of students coming to the table throughout the day was consistently high, but he could not provide exact numbers.
“Our second drive was the first week of October and was put on by the Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement and SGA,” Prouty said. “We had a bigger turnout, more help, and absentee ballot request forms from multiple states.”
The main questions students asked at the drive were where to vote, how absentee ballots work, and how to know if they were still registered from the primary elections.
Polling locations depend on one’s registration information. Students who have already registered to vote but desire to cast a vote in their home county need to fill out an absentee ballot.
If students voted in local or primary elections in Pike County, their registration is still valid for the presidential election.
Autumn Cunningham, a sophomore nursing major from Arley, registered to vote because she said she felt that it is her job as an adult citizen to contribute in the voting process.
This drive also reiterated to students that this election was not only a vote for president, but also for local offices and legislation within the state. Information about where to get information about out-of-state registering was given to out-of-state students.
“Voting is our voice to elect representatives and what we deem as important,” Cellon said. “We should use that opportunity every time we get it.”
Some students have chosen not to vote at all due to the candidates running for President.
Luke Stephens, a freshman global business major from Lake Martin, said he does not agree with the two primary party candidates, and is therefore refraining from voting.
“I’m not registering to vote this year because I do not agree enough with either (Donald) Trump or (Hillary) Clinton,” Stephens said. “Between his ignorance of foreign policy, and her blatant lies and corruption, neither of them are worthy of my vote.”
Registration for the state of Alabama can be completed online.
Absentee ballots can be obtained from https://www.alabamavotes.gov/AbsenteeVotingInfo.aspx?m=voters. Applications must be filed and submitted to one’s county board of registrars. The address can be obtained at the website above.
Once applicants receive his or her ballot in the mail, completed ballots must be postmarked no later than the day before the election, Monday, Nov. 7.
The deadline to be registered to vote online, mail, and in person was on Thursday, Oct. 24.
For more information on Alabama registration, visit https://www.alabamavotes.gov/GetRegForm.aspx?a=voters.
For out of state students, visit your state’s .gov website for specific applications and information.