QU event shines light on voting

Picture of people gathered in front of Brenner Library.

By Sierra Miller

On Thursday, September 17, Quincy University hosted a Voting Rights Night while also honoring Constitution Day and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. This event took place at 7 p.m. and was open to the public.

With the 2020 presidential election coming up on Tuesday, November 3, QU wanted to shed a light on the history and importance of voting to students who may be preparing to vote for the first time.

On this warm September night, people gathered around outdoors between Francis Hall and Brenner Library, wearing their required masks and remaining socially distanced.

Some spectators brought blankets or towels to sit on while others stood to take in the scene. People also took selfies and event photos to document the event and for extra credit in their classes.

QU provided guests with popcorn, drinks, and face masks that read, “VOTE” across the front.

Once the event started, a screen presentation played while speakers read through the history of voting and read the words of prestigious voices in suffrage movements atop the stairs of Brenner Library.

Listeners heard the famous words of Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Burns, Frederick Douglass, John Lewis, Fanny Lou Hamer, and Ida B. Wells.

Haley Kelley, student, was not registered to vote before the event. 

“I’m interested in learning about voting,” Kelley said.

A registration tent was open for guests at the end of the event, following the presentation. People were encouraged to check their registration status, learn about registering, and also register to vote.

Kassidy Venvertloh, student, attended the Voting Rights Night for extra credit in her classes and because she thought that the event would be interesting.

“I didn’t know that people were arrested for trying to vote,” Venvertloh said.

This event took place one day before the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who fought for racial equality and to put an end to gender-based discrimination.

Cheri Robertson, Adams County resident, believes that voting is a privilege and a duty.

“It’s our way of letting our voices be heard,” Robertson said.

Robertson also touched on how the pandemic might affect voter turnout and how the community has changed its ways of promoting voting and the election.

“I think that the pandemic will negatively affect voter turnout for this year’s election. Some voters may fear actually getting COVID-19, so they just won’t vote. This might make voter turnout much lower than normal,” Robertson said.

“In a normal election year, candidates have rallies and town hall meetings to let the voters know their political views and also to engage with them and get them interested in supporting them. But this year, due to the pandemic, all of the large in-person meetings had to be cancelled,” Robertson said.

If you missed the event and are unsure about how to register to vote, visit Vote.gov for more information.

The Voting Rights Night at QU was arranged and organized by faculty members Nora Baldner, M.A., assistant professor of communication, Megan Boccardi, Ph.D. and Vicky Eidson, D. Mgt., professor of accounting.

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