Celebrating National Voter Registration Day on campus


Courtesy of smcl.org

CCEL is assisting students to register to vote for the first time as Ohioans anticipate the upcoming elections.

Matthew Chang, Contributing Writer

National Voter Registration Day occurred this past Tuesday, Sept. 28, during which volunteers and organizations all over the United States came together to spread awareness of voter registration opportunities to those who may not have registered otherwise.

National Voter Registration Day is a non-partisan civic holiday started in 2012. This means that this holiday does not affiliate with or have any bias toward any political group. According to U.S. Census data from 2020, as many as one in four eligible Americans are not registered to vote because they either miss the registration deadline, do not update their registration, or are unsure how to register. Nearly 4.5 million Americans have registered to vote on this day since it was created. At Case Western Reserve University, the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL) provides resources and information to make voting straightforward and accessible.

In recognition of National Voter Registration Day, CCEL hosted an event in Thwing Atrium on Sept. 28 from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for voting assistance. Specifically, they helped the CWRU community with registering to vote in either Ohio or another home state, requesting an absentee ballot, finding polling locations and updating voter registration addresses.

If you were unable to make the event, do not fret. CCEL offers many tips to help students to begin or continue with the voting process. First, check your voter registration status and make sure your address is up to date; if you moved within the past year, you need to update your address. Second, those who have lived in Ohio for at least thirty days before the election are eligible to vote in Ohio, including students who moved on or near campus this fall. And finally, make a voting plan (where, when, and how you will vote), complete paperwork early and vote early, if possible.

“Voting is a central component of being an active community member,” said Kelly Schmidt, coordinator for CCEL. “Often, the issues that people really care about are influenced by policies, so voting can be an important way to influence positive change.” Younger voters have historically had a lower turnout at the polls, yet elected officials make decisions on issues that are important to these voters, such as student debt, university funding and the economy.

As individuals, there are many ways to help increase the voter registration turnout rate.

“Spread the word about available resources and upcoming deadlines,” said Schmidt. “The Ohio voter registration deadline is [Monday] Oct. 4, so we are encouraging everyone to act quickly.”

Many people often participate in presidential elections, but it is also crucial to be aware of local elections. CWRU students who are registered to vote can participate in upcoming local elections, including the Cleveland Mayoral race and U.S. House Ohio District 11 race which both occur on Nov. 2.

CWRU students can stop by the CCEL office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for help with filling out voter registration forms, submitting absentee ballot requests and getting answers to any other voting-related question. Students are also welcomed to email CCEL (commservice@case.edu) if they have any questions. Additionally, CWRU students can take advantage of the university’s membership to TurboVote (case.turbovote.org), an online platform through which they can access all of the forms they need to register and sign up for email and text alerts related to voting.