Campus organizations make voting accessible for students

For many students, this is the first presidential election they will be eligible to vote, and several campus organizations are making this process more accesible.

Both Bradley’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service plan to help students over the next few months educate, register and prepare to vote. Latifa Boddy, President of the NAACP, said the organization assisted students on Tuesday outside of Bradley Hall at the NAACP’s Voter Registration event.

“[We have] been working since the spring semester of 2012 to help educate our campus about voting by hosting events,” she said. “We are making an effort to continue with similar events that educate Bradley’s campus about voting and give people the opportunity to register to vote.”

Students who are not originally from the Peoria area can still apply for an absentee ballot however.

“Students have to first be registered to vote before they can complete an absentee ballot,” Boddy said. “To obtain one, students can mail in an application to the address listed on their voter registration card. They can also go to the address listed on their voter registration card to fill out an application.”

Absentee voting by postal will end Nov. 1 and in person absentee voting will end Nov. 5, 2012.

Bradley will not be hosting any voting stations on campus. Students must go to the listed address on their voter registration card to vote, or complete an absentee ballot.

For those who missed the NAACP event, students will get another chance to register at the Engaged youth rally event on Oct. 4. Brad McMillan, Executive Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service, said the event’s purpose is to inspire young people to vote.

“I think this will be a very fun, free event,” he said. “We have a number of elected officials that are coming.”

Among those speakers are Illinois Lieutenant Governor Shelia Simon, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Illinois Senator Darin LaHood. Several bands will perform in between the speeches, including Simon’s band, a Bradley faculty band and a Bradley student band. The event also includes free food and drinks for all attendees.

“It’ll be a combination of short speeches and fun entertainment,” McMillan said. “It’ll be a high energy event to get everyone involved.”

Additionally, McMillan said they have reached out to many schools in the area including Illinois Central College, Knox College, Monmouth College, Eureka College and Illinois Wesleyan University, as well as 18-year-olds from area high schools to participate in the event.

“We want to get as many young people to vote in the upcoming election as we can,” McMillan said.

The Illinois League of Women Voters will also register students to vote at the event, McMullan said. Students looking to register then must bring a state ID and a piece of addressed mail with them. Students can also stop by the Institute at Room 135 in Westlake Hall anytime for assistance.

“This event should make it very easy for students to fulfill their civic duty and be able to vote in the election,” he said. “One of the goals of the Institute is for Bradley University to become one of the most civically engaged campuses in the nation. It would be nice if we could beat all those national statistics and be known as a civically engaged university.”