A person wearing a mask fills about a ballot while thinking about voting.
Illustration by Umi Caldwell

Students encouraged to be politically active

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a series of challenges to voter registration and voters. The 2020 general election is fast approaching and civically-engaged citizens are encouraging their peers to participate by registering to vote and voting. 

At Lewis & Clark, students have witnessed the challenges of voting during this time and recognize the importance of making sure their vote counts.

“There are students that vote absentee, in these really crucial states where their vote counts a ton,” Mateo Kaiser ’23, co-president of the LC College Democrats said. 

According to Kaiser, LC College Democrats are organizing a poster campaign around campus to encourage students to vote. In fact, many organizations at LC are encouraging students to vote. The Office of Student Engagement has created a webpage with information and resources for student voters. 

Mikah Bertelmann ’21, a Student Engagement facilitator, explained the different types of resources available for students.

“We have a webpage on our website called Pioneers Vote 2020, and it has resources for students looking to check if they are already registered or request an absentee ballot, or to register to vote,” he said.“We also have information for all of the 50 states plus a few of the territories … about the timeline of voting.” 

This is not the first time that Student Engagement has encouraged students on campus to vote. 

“LC students in the midterm election in 2018 did a really good job at registering to vote and also going out to vote,” Bertelmann said. “We also want to continue that momentum coming into this year.”

Kaiser echoed Bertelmann’s comments and noted that LC is a very politically-engaged community.

The pandemic has significantly changed the way people are voting this year. Bertelmann discussed how difficulties around COVID-19 have impacted election-related events and resources at LC.

“COVID definitely presented a challenge, and we aren’t able to be in person for all of the activities that we would normally hold, and so a lot of our watch parties are being held virtually this year,” Bertelmann said. “I think for the most part students are really engaged in voting and they are taking the opportunity to vote really seriously, and we have the resources for them.” 

As we face these new challenges to voting this year, students have been provided the information they need so that they have the opportunity to vote. Student organizations at LC are in front of the voting issue, reaching out to students who are not sure of the voting process, ensuring they have the information they need to vote and that their voices are heard.

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