COVID-19’s impact on voter registration

By Megan Loock

Elm Staff Writer

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most activities allowed students to interact and engage not only on campus but outside the Washington College setting, including working directly with the Kent County Democrats and Republicans, respectively. Now that most students are learning within the confines of their hometowns, the question remains: Will it be easier to vote, or will our absence from campus hinder voter turnout this election?

Voting is an essential right that should be practiced on all levels of government. Due to the on-going pandemic, concerns about voter turn-out in the 2020 Presidential Election circle are unignorable. Nonetheless, both the WAC Democrats and Republicans are determined to enable students to practice their civic duty.

Former WAC Republicans President senior Sarah Dockham believes it will be more difficult for students to vote this semester. “We adjust our schedule to the lives we run at home”, said Dockham. She does not, however, believe it to be impossible.

The one advantage of the current situation is that most students are currently in their home states, allowing for a higher chance for in-person voting. According to Forbes magazine, the voter turnout among college students doubled between 2014 and 2018. These numbers can largely be attributed to the stride’s college campuses are taking to make voter registration more easily accessible to students. 

Normally, the WAC Democrats and Republicans collaborate during election years to help get students registered to vote, if they aren’t already. Sophomore Maegan White still plans to host virtual voter registration sessions to help guide students in their process to register, including applying for absentee ballots. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to vote; it goes beyond a red or blue issue,” said White. Regardless of one’s political beliefs, voting is an essential act that has the biggest ability to make change happen.

In the next coming weeks, members from both groups will be hosting individual zoom sessions with students to fill out their registration forms, including mail-in ballot eligibility. You can be on the look-out for sign-up links on their respective social media pages: @wac_democrats on both Instagram and Twitter, and @wac_college_republicans on Instagram.

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