By Quincy Fuehne
The Student Government Association is making it easier for students to register to vote before the upcoming election on November 6.
At its first meeting, the governing body decided to host registration days throughout September.
They want to help students get more involved in politics and bring awareness to the topic.
According to this report in 2016, traditional college-aged students had the lowest voting rate, while those ages 65 and older had the highest rate.
SGA Co-President Mary Argana finds a problem with these numbers.
“Our initiative is really just to spark the drive for young people to get involved in the political systems,” Argana said.
Some students already have a drive to be involved in the politics around them.
“I want a say in who is running my state or country. The people in office control so much of our lives,” Emily Ahrens, junior, said.
Those holding positions in office make decisions on things like taxes, education and healthcare.
Ahrens registered as soon as she could and believes it is important for voters to be educated before voting.
“They need to be educated on the topics they are voting for, not just going to follow the popular opinion or what their parents believe is right,” Ahrens said.
The SGA started educating itself on the voting process by inviting guest speaker Larry Ruemmler to a meeting.
Ruemmler is a retired lawyer who is a part of a local activism group called Indivisible. His main goal in Quincy is to register those he feels don’t always have a voice.
Before moving to Quincy, he was a deputy voter registrar. Once he moved to Quincy, he realized anyone could register others to vote.
Registering with one of the SGA members takes no more than three minutes according to SGA Co-Vice President Ernest Baker.
For those living in Illinois, all you need is a state I.D. or a driver’s license, to be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. You can vote in the general primary election when you are 17 years old if you will be 18 before or on the day of the general election.
The primary election is when voters decide which candidate will run for each party during the general election. The general election fills the position. There are also special elections that occur when, for example, an office has become vacant before the term has been completed.
Registering to vote in Missouri is a little different than in Illinois. You can register when you are 17 1/2 years old living in Missouri with proof of self identification. They accept a variety of identification forms that can be found here.
“We are all citizens,” Baker said. “Voting is the way we exercise our citizenship in this country and it’s the way that you make you have a voice and that you actually participate in placing leaders who can make the change that you want.”
You can register with an SGA member September 17 in the cafeteria from 12-1 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. or on September 24 at North Campus from 9-11 a.m. or 12:30-2:30 p.m.