The primary role of Elections Committee is to serve as an unbiased, guiding body in any and all aspects of the Student Body Direct Elections. To do so, the Committee works tirelessly each week to revise the Student Government’s governing documents in an effort to improve the elections process. However, this year’s Committee began with an initial focus on civic engagement beyond our Boston bubble, hence: Northeastern Votes.This coalition of clubs on campus was established nearly a decade ago with the intent to increase voter registration and education of the United States electoral process. The initiative had a large presence on campus in the fall 2016 semester in correspondence with the 2016 Presidential Election, and what was then spearheaded by past SGA President Elliot Horen, has since fallen under the responsibility of the Elections Committee. The reality of local elections meant lighter work for Northeastern Votes, but upholding its mission was still just as critical.
A large number of students at Northeastern are, in fact, registered to vote, and many of them practiced this right in the events of the last election cycle. For this reason, it was the occasional unregistered voter that the Committee aimed to target - the students who were previously ineligible or unsure of how to register, for example. To reach this demographic, the Committee maintained a consistent on-campus presence with weekly tabling throughout September and into October, leading up to the Massachusetts voter registration deadline of October 18th, 2017. Volunteers used the website neu.turbovote.org, which offers students simple directions on how to register in their home state or in Massachusetts. The Northeastern Votes table was also stocked with Massachusetts polling location information, mail-in registration forms, and Northeastern Votes swag.
Current Elections Chair, Kathleen Ballard, notes, “I anticipate that Northeastern Votes will continue to be a reliable proponent of civic engagement here on campus. It is possible in the future to streamline this event even more, taking publicity to social media thus increasing our accessibility to students.”