Wednesday was the last day students were able to register to vote in Adair County if they want to vote in the Missouri presidential primaries March 15.
To get students to register, the Truman State College Republicans and College Democrats teamed up to hold voter registration drives during the week of Feb. 8. Students could also register at the Adair County Clerk’s office.
College Democrats President Junior Andrew Mangrum says this registration drive was successful. He says they registered 82 people during the three-day drive, which is more successful than past registration drives have been.
Mangrum says he thinks the drive was so successful because some of the candidates vying for nomination have energized young voters. He says Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders are candidates supported by college-aged voters.
The College Democrats and College Republicans decided to host this drive because they want as many Truman State students as possible to vote in the upcoming primaries, Mangrum says.
“We want to make sure everyone gets their voice heard in the process of selecting the candidates,” Mangrum says. “It’s important to get young people to vote because if they don’t vote now, they’ll never get into that habit, and voting is a right you should always take advantage of.”
College Republicans Chair Junion Jake Buxton says according to Missouri law, the last day someone can register to vote in the state is the third Wednesday of the month before elections. To vote during the Missouri primaries, this means the last day to register was Feb. 17.
The voter registration drive hosted by the College Republicans and College Democrats ended Feb. 11 because they wanted to give the Adair County Clerk’s office plenty of time to process the registration paperwork.
Buxton says the College Republicans have hosted voter registration drives before, but this is the first time they have teamed up with the College Democrats for these efforts. He says the chairperson of the College Democrats contacted him about coordinating bipartisan voter registration efforts.
Buxton says one advantage to registering to vote in Adair County as opposed to students registering in their hometowns is students can vote for local candidates here.
“If you’re politically engaged at all in Adair County, it’s good to be able to vote for the people you’re actually campaigning for,” Buxton says. “That’s the biggest reason that I switched. Not everyone is in that position, but we believe it’s very important to be involved here.”
Buxton says there are other advantages to registering to vote in Adair County. He says one of these reasons is voting locations conveniently are located in the Student Union Building or near Truman’s campus.
Another advantage to registering in Adair County is students are more likely to vote in person instead of via absentee ballot, and most major elections take place during the academic year, Buxton says.
“It’s just more convenient, and there is a greater likelihood that people will actually vote if they’re registered in Adair County,” Buxton says. “We want to make sure students are being civically engaged, that they are voting, so we’re trying to make that as easy as possible for students.”
Buxton says the College Republicans and College Democrats had tables from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 9-11 in McClain, Ryle and Missouri Halls where people could register to vote.
“When people walked by, we asked them if they were registered to vote in Adair County or if they want to register in Adair Country, and we had some free candy there, so there’s several reasons people might stop by,” Buxton says. “We try to make it as attractive as possible so people stop by.”
Buxton says the College Republicans are planning get out the vote efforts to encourage people to vote during the primaries, potentially working with the College Democrats. He says they will also likely host another voter registration drive prior to the general elections on Nov. 8. The deadline to register to vote during the general election in Missouri is Oct. 19.
Buxton says if students want to be involved in the 2016 elections beyond voting, they should contact the College Republicans or College Democrats.
Adair County Clerk Sandy Collop says if students are registered to vote in a county besides Adair, they should contact that county clerk to request an absentee ballot.