Election Day 2015 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Election Day 2015

Thanks to the diligent efforts of the student-run organization HWS Votes, this semester marks yet another successful season of voter registration at the Colleges, with more than 180 students who registered to vote or requested an absentee ballot.

Throughout the fall semester, HWS Votes focused efforts on registering as many HWS students as possible ahead of today’s Nov. 3 election.

“It’s important for students to vote because as cliché as it sounds our voice really does matter,” says Joshua Weinstein ’17, a member of HWS Votes and a civic leader with the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL). Weinstein co-chairs the student organization with Rotimi Adeoye ’18, who also is a civic leader.

The strong voter registration turnout for 2015 arrives a year after the Colleges were named by TurboVote the “Top Campus of all Time,” based on the percentage of enrolled students who signed up to vote over the two preceding years. In 2012, HWS Votes joined forces with TurboVote, a project of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Democracy Works, to provide students with registration information and opportunities, including absentee ballots.

For students who need transportation to the polls today in Geneva (if registered to vote in Ontario County) or would like more information on HWS Votes, contact Associate Director of CCESL Jeremy Wattles at wattles@hws.edu.

In Geneva, the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The majority of HWS students who are registered to vote live in Ward 1, where polling will take place at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, 24 Park Place. 

For registered voters in Geneva who live outside of Ward 1, other polling locations include:

  • Ward 2: West Street School, 30 West St.
  • Ward 3: North Street School, 400 West North St.
  • Ward 4: Geneva High School, 101 Carter Road
  • Ward 5: Hydrant Hose Fire Hall, 79 Geneva St.
  • Ward 6: Courtyard Apartments, 10 Goodman St.

Wattles says one of the main goals of HWS Votes is non-partisan voter education and promoting an active voting community among HWS students. He says registration is a part of that education.

In addition, HWS Votes offers newsletters, policy panels and guest speakers who talk about current affairs and policy.

“Everybody, all ages, all backgrounds, should vote, and we want everyone voting,” Wattles says. “We want to offer the TurboVote service as a way to make it as easy as possible for students to vote and be involved.”

In gearing up for today’s election, HWS Votes teamed up with the Geneva group, Tools for Social Change, to host a non-partisan block party on Linden Street to focus on voter registration and education in Geneva. As an activist group, Tools for Social Change works with the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva to foster dialogue about local issues. HWS Votes tabled during the event and assisted with voter registration and education.

The block party preceded National Voter Registration Day in September when HWS Votes hosted a table in the Scandling Campus Center to assist students with the online TurboVote process.

Earlier this year, community members and students were invited to gather at the West Street School to hear from the City’s candidates for mayor and City Council. Tools for Social Change organized the event, which featured a question-and-answer session, non-partisan discussion as well as voter registration.

Earlier this year, students involved in Tools for Social Change as well as four faculty advisers studied how community-wide dialogue develops community education and the urban justice movement through both college and community participants. Their research emphasized the importance of the Colleges’ relationship to the Geneva community and the benefits of student civic engagement.

Rotimi Adeoye ’18, Josh Weinstein ’17 and Allison Magnarelli ’18 greet constituents during Candidates’ Night at West Street Elementary School. Candidates running for Geneva City Council spent the night taking questions and participating in discussions.