Don’t forget to TurboVote
American Democracy Project (ADP) is tackling low youth-voter turnout ahead of a crucial midterm election on Nov. 6 using the online civic engagement app, TurboVote. The app allows students to sign up for email and text reminders about important election information like absentee ballot application and change of address deadlines.
ADP, a non-partisan political advocacy student organization, has a $1,500, year-long contract with TurboVote.
Teaming up with TurboVote will provide administrators with strategic data about where and how to recruit potential student voters at GC. Anyone can use the app, but ADP hopes this simple reminder tool will help them increase political activity among the GC student population.
“Our personal goal for GC is to have more than 80 percent [of students] registered to vote and more than 50 percent [of registered students] getting out to vote,” said senior Ruby Zimmerman, a political science major and secretary of the GC chapter of ADP. “[Voting] is not on everyone’s mind, and that’s where American Democracy Project has come into play. TurboVote helps simplify the voting process.”
When students arrive at GC, many are already registered in their home municipalities.
The process of changing addresses, applying for an absentee ballot or choosing to vote at home or in Milledgeville can be complex and confusing.
“Students at GC are involved in so many community-service-oriented projects, so I would never accuse our students of not being engaged, but for a lot of complex reasons, they’re not engaged politically,” said Jan Hoffman, campus ADP coordinator.
Student voters are easily lost when information about voting is not accessible, which is the cause of ADP’s push to use TurboVote.
“More people vote in GC Homecoming elections than Baldwin and Milledgeville residents vote in local elections,” said Leann Whitley, a political science major and Vice President of ADP “That is a fact. Numbers-wise, we could sway an election.”
The upcoming midterm election is a critical moment for national politics. All 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for re-election. Right now, both houses of congress are majority Republican.
There is a possibility that majorities and minorities could change hands, so the outcome on election day plays a major role in future policy decisions over the next two years of the Trump administration.
“Voter registration is completely non-partisan,” Whitley said. “The end goal is purely to get students out there to vote. This is a high-stakes election; it’s super polarized. If you’re going to live in this state, you deserve the chance to vote.”
Zimmerman and Whitley have both registered to vote in Baldwin County and encourage other students to do so as well.
“No matter what party you are, your vote counts more in Milledgeville than in other parts of Georgia because this area is very purple, so it leans either Democrat or Republican,” Zimmerman said.
Whitley remembers having a 15-minute break between classes, walking to the polling place at the Baldwin County Courthouse, voting and walking back to campus with a minute or two to spare.
This year’s midterm election is particularly important for state and local elections, which receive a stark difference in attention from national elections, especially among student voters.
“Local elections count the most because those are the people making decisions that are going to affect your everyday life,” Zimmerman said. “National are more long-term, but if you need something done, like have a road fixed, that all has to do with state and local government.”
ADP hopes that students will take advantage of TurboVote and of opportunities to vote early.
Registered voters in Baldwin County can vote early at the courthouse from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business days starting Oct. 15. Saturday, Oct. 27, is the only weekend day polling places will be open.
On Election Day, Nov. 6, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.