Campus, News

BU College Democrats hosts voter registration drive, advocates youth involvement

Jared Moffat, a field director for Regulate Mass, provides a student with information on voting at the voter registration drive hosted by the BU College Democrats Thursday in the George Sherman Union. PHOTO BY ELLEN CLOUSE/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Jared Moffat, a field director for Regulate Mass, provides a student with information on voting at the voter registration drive hosted by the BU College Democrats Thursday in the George Sherman Union. PHOTO BY ELLEN CLOUSE/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

“I’ve been meaning to register for vote for three weeks,” Mary Moyer said.

Standing in front a table at the George Sherman Union Link, the College of Engineering freshman registered to become a Massachusetts voter. Come November, she will cast her first vote in her life.

Moyer is among more than 50 Boston University students who registered to vote with the BU College Democrats on Thursday. The organization co-hosted a voter registration drive with YES on 4, an activist group that campaigns for marijuana taxation and regulation.

As three members of BU College Democrats and YES on 4 passed out pamphlets and free brownies, they tried to convince people to register in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“We very firmly believe that voter registration is a positive thing,” said Melody Shaff, vice president of the BU College Democrats. “Students should be involved with making those decisions as they really affect our lives on the day-to-day [basis].”

The group originally aimed to register 40 students during their four-hour voter registration drive, and they exceeded their goal, Shaff, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said.

“It’s kind of discouraging when a lot of people say, ‘Yeah I’ve already registered’ or just ignore you,” she said. “But we’re still getting a lot more people to register.”

For many people, voter registration is a complex process, Shaff said, so their goal is to guide students through any confusion they may have about the process.

“More people should vote, and one way we can help do that is by making sure more people are registered,” she said. “The registration process is kind of convoluted. Not everyone knows how to do it, [and] not everyone knows where to go to get forms or how to register online.”

Michael Gotauco, a volunteer at the voter registration drive and a senior in the Metropolitan College, said he wanted to participate in the drive to support the YES on 4 movement.

“As a veteran, I had some experiences in the past that could have been prevented if only the access to marijuana was available,” Gotauco said.

As students are walking pass the voter registration drive, some of them saw voting as an opportunity to have a say in the political arena – Dominique Givens, a freshman in CAS, said she wouldn’t have registered if it weren’t for the registration drive.

“This was really helpful,” Givens said. “It’s really important that we go out there and do vote because if you don’t, the options are really bad.”

Tess Clippinger, a freshman in the College of Fine Arts, said she registered with BU College Democrats so she could vote on issues in Massachusetts. She also said it is important to for college students to be informed on state-level and municipal elections, not just the presidential election.

“Not just presidential elections are important,” Clippinger said. “If you want a certain agenda to go through, it has to go through all of these different systems, so I want to vote in all elections.”

Mariana Chacon, a sophomore in CAS, said she saw the voter registration drive, but was already registered to vote in her home state of Massachusetts.

“Voting is very important, and I feel like it’s just something you have to do,” Chacon said. “I would never just not vote, and [voting] is just something my parents have always done. They’ve made sure that I was registered.”

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