/Voter registration mishap: forms go missing

Voter registration mishap: forms go missing

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Sable Riley

Arts & Entertainment Editor

On the morning of Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, several students received a text message from SGA representatives informing them that their registration forms had not been mailed.

Olivia Melton, a senior math and economics double major from Orange Beach, and president of the Student Government Association, said that 30 registration forms were misplaced and were not discovered until Tuesday morning.

“I take full responsibility,” Melton said. “I could not be more apologetic to the student body.”

Some students were registering for the first time while others were attempting to move their registration locations so they could vote in Troy.

Many of the students affected were not able to vote at all.

Jarod Lewis, a senior theater major from Carter, Kentucky, filled out a registration form at an SGA booth on Oct. 6, with the intention of moving his registration location to vote in Troy.

“I can’t explain how mad I was,” Lewis said about receiving the text message. “At the bottom, what made me the most pissed was: ‘Have a blessed day.’”

Lewis, 26, has voted blue in the previous two elections and said he intended to vote for Hillary Clinton in what he considered “a very crucial election.”

Melton said on Monday night she was contacted by students saying that they weren’t registered to vote, after they checked their registration online.

Melton retraced the steps made by SGA until she located them in a closet Tuesday morning, and immediately worked to notify all affected students by text message.

The text message read: “Hey, this is a representative from Troy SGA. We regret to inform you that your registration form was not mailed out due to technical difficulties. Please check online to see if you’re registered before you go to vote…”

Melton said that in between shifts at the registration booth, SGA members would take the forms back to the SGA office.

However, a member failed to take the forms back to the office during one of the changes in shifts.

Those ballots were inadvertently placed with leftover forms in a box that ended up in a closet in the SGA office.

The office of civic engagement was responsible for the registration event.

“Between my office staff and the SGA, there was a miscommunication and misfiling of the last batch of documents from the voter drive and they were misplaced and not filed,” said Jonathon Cellon, coordinator of the office of civic engagement.

The SGA attempted to right their wrong by contacting the Alabama Board of Elections and the Pike County Board of Registrar, but it was too late for anything to be done.

Melton said, on behalf of SGA, that its members are “really, really regretful.”

Lewis said he only wished he would have been notified sooner so he could have sent in an absentee ballot.

“It’s the fact that it’s my right as a citizen to vote, and I hate saying it, but they stripped that right away from me,” Lewis said. “I don’t feel like. . . as an individual, I can trust the SGA anymore.

“Your vote matters, no matter what someone else says…”