Your Vote and Your Voice Matter

In the beginning of 2023, Kent State University was designated a Voter Friendly Campus for 2023-24 by Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The university became one of 258 campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia to be recognized by the implemented practices that encourage students to register and vote in the 2022 elections and the coming years.

“Receiving the Voter Friendly Campus designation is one more reminder that Kent State takes seriously its commitment to educate students who shape the world as engaged, informed citizens,” said Craig Berger, associate director at Community Engaged Learning (CEL).

Kent State was also designated a Voter Friendly Campus for 2019-20. During that time, Kent State Votes, a coalition led by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and CEL, and made of the university’s faculty, staff, and students, was created. 

Jessica Starkey, director of governmental affairs for USG, mentioned Kent State Votes ensures students get voter registration forms, helps students find the correct paperwork, holds events in the Kent State Library regarding voter registration, and assists people with transportation to voting locations.

“Registering to vote is your first step on a civic engagement process,” Starkey said. “Voting is extremely important. It’s a way to get your voice heard.”

Kent State Votes logo in gold and blue colors.

Berger mentioned that it is understandable that some students are not constantly focused on politics. Still, they should get the information they need to register to vote and complete the act of voting. He added that there is no shame in not getting involved beforehand, but it is essential to ask as many questions as possible and have knowledge about the process.

“There are a lot of people at the university who will go above and beyond to [assist the students], and that’s also what Kent State Votes is set up to do,” Berger said. “If there are any questions, it’s important to ask them.”

Students registered to vote can request an absentee ballot if they cannot vote on election day or will not be in their registered residential address. Berger mentioned these students need to request the absentee ballot, complete it, and submit it.

Berger added that students should be aware of the dates. Voter registration for the upcoming primary election is due on February 20, and students can request an absentee ballot starting on February 21. Berger advises students to return their ballot in the mail before March 15. If students have registered an out-of-state residential address, he explained they need to check with the Board of Elections in their county to ensure students follow the laws in that state.

University Libraries is connected to Kent State Votes, and Berger mentioned it is a good resource for students to ask questions because of its accessibility and hours of operation. Kent State Votes’ Instagram account and members of USG are other resources for students.

VOTE411 is a really helpful resource,” said Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, director of the Women’s Center. “In terms of knowledge about the issues, ways to be civically engaged, and understanding local and national government processes, the work consistently done by the League of Women Voters of Kent [is valuable].”

Pegg-Kirby mentioned the League of Women Voters welcomes the opportunity to talk with new people no matter their background or political experience.

“We are fortunate at Kent State University to be able to build on years of civic-minded work,” Berger said. “Including research by engaged scholars, the development of an Experiential Learning Requirement for graduation, the formation of strong relationships with community partners, and the organizing of the May 4 Task Force, among others.”

 Upcoming election information

POSTED: Friday, February 16, 2024 12:17 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2024 10:16 AM
Eduardo Strobel