Students at the University of West Georgia are taking part in this year’s election by educating their peers about voting.
Rickia Stafford and Ann Mukundi are two of the many students who are participating in campus efforts to increase voter education and registration. Both are political science majors at UWG and are Democracy Fellows in the Campus Election Engagement Project.
“We have students who are taking a real leadership role,” said Dr. Chapman Rackaway, Director of Civic Engagement.
This year, during the 2020 election, Stafford and Mukundi are finding that while many students are registered to vote, many are not sure if they are registered in Carrollton or in their hometowns — or where their polling place is.
Because so many students are already registered, they are currently focusing their efforts on educating student voters. This includes figuring out if a student needs to re-register in Carroll County or request an absentee ballot, and where their polling place is. They also discuss with students why it is important that they vote.
Several events will be held between now and Election Day, including one event on Tuesday at which students will be provided voter education, as well as an event on Nov. 3, Election Day, that Stafford called “Party at the Polls” where she and a group will offer snacks and words of encouragement.
“[We will] be there as encouragement for students and even Carrollton community members, that even though the line may be long your vote matters,” said Stafford.
Stafford and Mukundi each said that they are participating in this effort to help communicate to students that their vote does matter, and in order to effect change, voting is necessary.
One education push that these students are making is to emphasize the importance of state and local elections, which they said impacts day-to-day lives more so than the federal elections.
“A lot of people don’t know who their state officials or state representatives are, so I feel like we should educate people more on who’s on the ballot,” said Mukundi.
When asked “but why does my vote matter,” Stafford said that all problems could be tied back to elected officials, from a pothole in the road to social justice issues.
“These people were elected, sheriff, attorney general, distinct attorney; these people were elected and you can protest, you have the right to do that, but let me tell you, if you don’t go out and do anything in the polls, every single time there is an election ... if you pay attention to every single election that comes across your plate, some of these social justice issued might’ve been a little different,” said Stafford.
Early voting in Carroll County has already begun and it will end on Oct. 30. Advanced voting takes place in Carrollton from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Elections Office on 423 College St., and the Bonner/Stallings Center, 118 White St.
There is an additional date on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for early voting at the elections office.
Election Day is Nov. 3 and individuals can check their registration status, precinct location, and sample ballot at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/.
“Who we vote for matters,” said Mukundi.