Voter registration drive prepares UMKC students for Missouri primary

Roo News

Henry Gamber and Allison Harris

Are you registered to vote? If you aren’t, or if you need to change your voting address, The Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) are here to help.

Last week ASUM hosted a week long voter registration drive, where students across all majors teamed up to register UMKC students to vote. 

“[College students] are a disenfranchised crowd in the total electorate,” volunteer Noah Kucza said.“I think it’s really important that we are represented, not only in Missouri, but all around the nation.”

The drive relied on volunteers like Kucza, who register students at booths set up across campus. Booths were located in the Student Union, Oak and Johnson Residence Halls, the Miller Nichols Learning Center, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences Building, Royall Hall and the Swinney Recreation Center. 

ASUM is a non-partisan state internship program that brings students to Jefferson City to advocate on behalf of the University of Missouri system during the state’s legislative session. 

The drive is an effort to ensure UMKC students are registered to vote in time for the Missouri presidential primary, which is held on March 10.

“The last day to register [for the Missouri presidential primary] is February 12th,” Dominique Sanchez, UMKC’s ASUM chapter president said. “We want students to vote and participate and engage in their civic duties.”

ASUM volunteers registered students using TurboVote, an online tool meant to simplify the registration process.

“[TurboVote] is specifically designed for busy college students,” Sanchez said. “It’s something we have invested in as an organization, and it’s something that we see that works a lot for people’s schedules.”

Statistically, young voters have had the most consistently low voting turnout in history. In 2016, only 46% of 18 to 29 year olds voted.

“There are far too many people out there who are under the mindset that their vote doesn’t matter,” Sanchez said, “and unfortunately, many of those are young people.”

Despite the statistics, UMKC hosts many politically engaged students.

This includes Zavier Jones, a freshman political science major who volunteers for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and has canvassed in Iowa before the primary.

“It is important for young people to get involved because we are the ones that will see the impacts of laws made now,” Jones said. “We will be the ones harmed if policy makers don’t take us and our voice into consideration.”

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