Amanda Ward ’11 has been hot on the campaign trail. The HWS Votes campaign to register as many eligible voters as possible, that is. Ward and the students organizing HWS Votes have been working tirelessly to register voters in time for the midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
“So far this semester, we have registered 337 students to vote,” says Ward. “We’ve also been working to obtain absentee ballots for those who live out of state so that they can vote in the upcoming elections.”
Ward took an interest in encouraging others to vote during her first year when she decided to volunteer for HWS Votes. As a sophomore, she was hired by the Center for Community Service and Engagement Learning to work for HWS Votes.
“I just really liked the idea of being able to impact the things that directly affected me,” explains Ward. “Your senators, governors, the people who can initiate change – these are people you have the power to elect. You also have to hold these people responsible by voting.”
“Voting is such an important civic duty that many students can forget about,” she explains. “However, community service can be achieved via a political alternative like voting or contacting your local representative. It’s a way to make a change and a real difference that students don’t think about.”
When the midterm elections take place, dozens of politically active members of campus will be at the Cellar Pub to witness the results. The event serves as a way to celebrate the democratic process and the culmination of the efforts of HWS Votes in emphasizing the importance of voting, as both a civic duty and a form of expression.
“We really hope this event will generate excitement for the elections,” says Ward. “For those who are looking forward to seeing the results unfold, hopefully they’ll find a community that they can hang out with at the Pub – a community to connect with. I also think it will generate a lot of great discussion.”
In addition, HWS Votes will host a political panel series in conjunction with Americans for Informed Democracy later this fall. A politically-engaged student body is one that is well-informed and active in its pursuit of ideals, she says. By attending a lecture at a political panel, following the current events in the political sphere, addressing issues of concern to political representatives and, of course, simply voting, anyone can become a more productive and responsible citizen.