Students hoping to vote in the upcoming Williamsburg City Council election will receive a helping hand — and ride — from the Student Assembly.
The SA Senate Public Affairs Committee met last night to discuss options for getting students out to vote in Williamsburg.
“We just want to give students as much access to their constitutional rights as possible,” SA President Valerie Hopkins ’09 said.
This year’s City Council election falls on Tuesday, May 6, during the second week of exams. With students likely feeling inclined to study during this time, many SA members are worried about the effectiveness of this past year’s voter registration drive.
To combat the effects of exams on voter turnout, the SA will offer free shuttles to the Williamsburg Community Building on North Boundary Street, where the polls are located.
“The end of the year is a crazy time for everyone, with exams and people getting ready to leave,” Hopkins said. “We want to make [voting] as simple as possible.”
Shuttles will be running on Election Day starting at 10 a.m. and will continue to run until the polls close at 7 p.m. Buses will be available from the University Center Terrace, Phi Beta Kappa Hall and in front of the Commons Dining Hall.
For those who are unable to vote May 6, the Office of the Registrar in the Stryker Building will also accept absentee ballots from April 28 through Election Day. The office will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The SA will also be releasing information to help with voter questions. Door hangers with tips on voting early and important reminders are being placed in dorms. In addition, information on the candidates and questionnaires can be found on the SA website, sa.wm.edu/yourcandidates.
With over 1,300 potential new votes riding on this election, Matt Beato’s ’09 campaign is also working to ensure everyone who wants to vote is able to get out. Volunteers across campus have signed on as “precinct captains” to remind friends in their dorms to go to the polls on Election Day. Approximately 20 individuals have volunteered, covering every dorm area on campus.
“Just because people are registered [to vote] doesn’t mean they’ll go out,” Monroe precinct captain Morgan Linski ’11 said. “We have to make sure they take that final step.”
Because a large portion of those registered are first-time voters, members of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law’s Election Law Society have volunteered to create a voter line to ensure no foul play arises.
Hopkins hopes this will give students confidence in the voting system.
“One vote can make a difference,” she said. “That prospect is really exciting. Students can make a mark in their ballot box and their community.”
Hopkins reminded that to vote they should bring their official voter registration card and College ID. She cautioned that driver’s licenses may not be accepted.