Ethnic Student Center teams up with Representation and Engagement Programs to encourage voting on Nov. 5

By Jordan Van Beek

The Ethnic Student Center is joining up with the Representation and Engagement Programs to host Democracy & Donuts in the Multicultural Center lounge on Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 1-4:30 p.m. to inform students about the Whatcom County 2019 General Election.

“As long as we’re able to vote, it’s important to have voting information and the voting venue accessible,” said Daniela Tierra, Associated Students ESC cultural education coordinator.

During the event, the ESC will be turned into a polling station where students can bring in their ballots or have it printed in order to vote. There will be voter pamphlets from various counties in Washington, Tierra Said.

“There is no real schedule for the event, students are welcome to come in and out, the most important thing is for them to vote,” Tierra added.

The ESC brought back this event  because of last year’s amazing turnout and their ability to support students of color voting at the event, Tierra said.

“I want to have this event make voting as accessible as possible for students to vote,” Tierra said.

According to the event website, Democracy & Donuts will have a temporary ballot box and a bank of laptops for those who would like to cast their ballot for the 2019 General Election. Printers will be available for students to print and mail their ballots from the ESC. 

“This event was started by the ESC, to be accessible for students of color,” Tierra said. “The lounge is a spot where lots of students of color hang out and spend time. A place many students of color are already familiar with, making it easier for them to engage with this event.”

AS Communications Director Hunter Stuehm said the 2018 election saw 57.9% of students eligible to vote submitted ballots. These results were based on the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement September 2019 report.

“Our 2018 voting rate is a 35.6% increase from only 39.1% of eligible students who voted in the 2014 election,” Stuehm said. “While we are unable to attribute this increase to any one event, it is clear that AS events and partnerships focusing on civic engagement have made an impact.”

There were a total of 15,676 eligible student voters on campus in the 2018 election and 9,077 of those students voted in that election, Stuehm said.

Democracy & Donuts helps students learn what’s on their Whatcom County General Election ballot while enjoying a cup of coffee or a donut.

“The AS is happy to continue supporting Democracy and Donuts and sees it as an important effort to make voting more accessible to all students,” Stuehm said. “We are grateful for the partnership between the Ethnic Student Center and representation and engagement programs office.”

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