As junior David Luna ’14 sits, waiting to discuss the latest HWS Votes initiative he and co-president Olivia Lowenberg ’15 are spearheading, he doggedly checks his iPhone every few minutes. However, it’s not his Facebook or Twitter feeds that have him glued to the screen – he is anxiously charting the progress of HWS voter registration through the online service TurboVote. In just three hours, he says, more than 40 students have requested ballots.
“Your opinions are crucial – but alone and kept to yourself, they have no impact,” explains Luna, who is determined to have 1,000 members of the HWS and Geneva communities registered to vote in time for the Presidential Election in November. “However, they will have impact if you exercise your opinions through voting. What better time do so with the 2012 elections coming our way in just a few short weeks?”
“Registering to vote is the first step in connecting to the democratic process,” says Lowenberg. “Hopefully that initial contact will inspire my peers to maintain contact with their Senators, Representatives, and President – as well as to become more educated about the issues that concern us all.”
In a world that makes shopping, socializing and movie-viewing as convenient as a click of a button, TurboVote, an up-and-coming non-profit organization, seeks to streamline the process of registering to vote using an online client. After completing a series of simple questions, the site generate forms that are both e-mailed and physically mailed to the voter.
Due to the partnership between HWS and TurboVote, the forms come with a postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope – so forms simply need to be signed and dropped in the mailbox. For those who are already registered to vote, TurboVote also provides an easy means of requesting a ballot or having election reminders mailed to your home address, e-mail or cell phone. To date, HWS Votes has helped 281 students register or request absentee ballots through TurboVote.
“HWS Votes is a great example for folks,” remarks Turbovote’s Director of Partnerships Sam Novey. “HWS has one of the highest per capita sign-up ratios we’ve seen.”
“Voting is such a source of hope,” says Lowenberg. “The citizen’s vote is one of the few things today that cannot be bought. For just that reason, registering to vote – and participating in the democratic process through voting – is so important on Election Day 2012.”
In addition to handing out flyers containing pertinent TurboVote information and canvassing Scandling Campus Center, HWS Votes has joined viewing parties for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Additional screenings will also be held for the upcoming Presidential debates
The semester ahead promises to be rich with HWS Vote initiatives including a downtown Campaign Panel featuring President Mark D. Gearan, Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman and other prominent members of faculty.
“HWS Votes and TurboVote is giving you the chance to register to vote – and making it incredibly easy ,” says Luna. “The onus is on you – let’s gather our collective civic energy and vote.”
Register for free to vote at www.hws.turbovote.org.
In the photos above, David Luna’14 (right) hands Cynthia Uwicyeza ’16 a flyer for HWS TurboVote. Olivia Lowenberg ’15 (right) discusses President Barack Obama’s speech with Sarah Feldman ’15 during the Democratic National Convention viewing party.