HWS Votes Remains Engaged – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Votes Remains Engaged

On Election Day, members of HWS Votes are encouraging students to get out to vote as well as to remain engaged in the 2020 presidential election. The non-partisan group is made up of students and is run in collaboration with the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL). The group is committed to voter education and registration and works with other clubs and organizations on campus to promote civic duty.

Civic Leaders for Political Engagement and HWS Votes co-chairs Bart Lahiff ’20 and Audrey Platt ’21 are excited about the ways they have engaged potential voters. Having joined HWS Votes early in their HWS careers, they have worked to propose new ways to engage the student body. This fall, HWS Votes hosted registration drives in residence halls and held debate watching parties. In collaboration with PLEN and CAB, HWS Votes will participate in a film screening of On the Basis of Sex about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 at the Smith Opera House. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the event is free and open to the public.

Both Lahiff and Platt agree that voting is the way to make positive change. “Our primary goal is to demystify political issues so that students feel comfortable discussing politics in a fair minded and serious way,” says Lahiff, who joined the Congress to Campus event in 2018.

“We are building a social media presence, attending conferences to brainstorm, subsidizing the cost of mailing registration and general form request forms,” adds Platt. “We are connecting with professors in respective departments and building energy for civic engagement.”

Members of HWS Votes gather for a photo at the Andrew Goodman Foundation event.
Members of HWS Votes gather for a photo at the Andrew Goodman Foundation event.

One such conference was the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Regional Coalition Summit at Cornell University in September, attended by eight schools. The participants discussed ways in which they work to promote student registration and voting.

CCESL Director Katie Flowers urges students to do research on voter trends. “We encourage them to learn as much as they can about Gen Z voting trends and identify ways to encourage voter registration, raise awareness of candidates and connect with information needed to improve voter turn-out,” Flowers says.

Founded during the 2004 presidential election, HWS Votes has grown to promote voter registration and has partnered with TurboVote since 2012, registering more than 2,400 students, faculty, staff and Geneva community members. Click here to register to vote with HWS’ TurboVote.

Platt urges anyone who wants more information on HWS Votes to contact the group at vote@hws.edu.

The HWS Votes logo was designed by Kevin Cervantes ’21.