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State and student leaders hope their points register on voting
Photos and Story by James Hill
Thanks to student volunteers, Portland Community College helped to get people registered for the Nov. 4 election.
From barbecues to visits by local and state politicians, PCC was on the forefront on building the awareness of how important it is to be eligible to vote and judging by the results, it worked. The Cascade Campus ASPCC Office registered 2,013 people, Sylvania added 1,062, Southeast signed up 174 and Rock Creek registered 1,023 students to vote during a three-week span.
“Since Winter 2014 Rock Creek was able to register over 2,000 students to vote on campus,” said Mandy Ellertson, Rock Creek Student Leadership coordinator. “A big thank you to everyone who helped make this possible on campus.”
Statewide college students were able to register more than 55,000 fellow students to vote for the midterm election this November.
How did they do it? Aside from the usual hard work, a lot of success can be owed to awareness events. A big crowd of students and staff packed the Sylvania Campus PAC Courtyard on Wednesday, Oct. 1 for free grub and speeches by local leaders. And to register to vote, of course, as student volunteers manned tables to offer registration cards and a pen. Secretary of State Kate Brown along with State Rep. Joe Gallegos and PCC President Jeremy Brown told stories of how important it is for students and staff to register to vote.
“We wanted to really engage the students,” said Sylvania Campus Student Government Legislative Director Kole Myrick. “When students are engaged and registered to vote they have a lot of power. You can really make a difference because voting does matter.”
Afterwards, Rep. Gallegos visited a few classrooms as part of ASPCC class raps to build awareness of the benefits of students and staff registering to vote by the deadline. Kate Brown chatted with students and mingled with campus leaders as well. Rep. Gallegos also visited the Rock Creek Campus on Sept. 30 to host a cafe-style conversation about the importance of voting and Secretary Brown joined Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Oct. 13 to inspire Cascade Campus students to register. ASPCC leaders pulled no punches in delivering the knockout blow to any passivity toward this year’s election.
“I truly believe as your chief elections officer is that your vote is your voice and every single voice matters,” Kate Brown said.
President Jeremy Brown, no relation, drove the point home that if you don’t vote, you can’t have a say in how things are run.
“It’s really important,” said President Brown of registering your vote. “It’s imperative to a healthy democracy. And every first step is voter registration. As a first-generation voter in the U.S. myself, I take the responsibility of civic participation very seriously. Your vote counts. Don’t be passive. Don’t just sit back and say, ‘My vote doesn’t mean anything.’ Your vote is important.”
Now attention turns to making sure people get their ballots in. In the final days before the Nov. 4 election, if you are unable to mail the ballot, ASPCC will have locations available where students and staff can drop off their ballots Nov. 3 and 4. Locations include: Southeast Campus (Room 151, Mt. Tabor Hall), Rock Creek (student help desk, or Room 128, Building 3), Cascade (Room 03, Student Center) and Sylvania (lower mall, CC Building).