Editorial: Get Ready to (Ballot) Party with UConnPIRG!

ConnPIRG hosts breakout sessions for interested students to learn about the various activities run by the organization in the ITE building on September 12, 2018. Photo by Judah Shingleton, Staff Photographer/The Daily Campus

Tomorrow afternoon, UConnPIRG’s New Voters Project (NVP) will host an all-inclusive ballot party at the UConn Student Union Terrace from 1-4 pm. To provide some context, UConnPIRG is a statewide, student-directed and student-funded nonprofit organization that runs nonpartisan activist campaigns; one such campaign, NVP, is Connecticut’s chief voter registration initiator as the state’s October 30th deadline draws nearer. Anyone who has time to spare on a Friday afternoon should attend tomorrow’s party; as NVP civic education and engagement coordinator Jessica Gagnon astutely notes, “we want to encourage students to look at civic engagement as not only something that they should do, but rather something that they are excited for and that they look forward to.” NVP members hope to climb closer toward their semester goal of 2,500 new student voter registrations prior to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, and to unify UConn’s student population through entertaining diversions and passionate civic engagement.

Primarily, this party will allow students to become registered voters and learn about their local candidates’ viewpoints on critical issues. Trained NVP members will walk students through the completion of a physical voter registration form and later submit each form to Mansfield’s town registrar. Those who register to vote on-campus can do so at the nearby Mansfield community center on November 6th, traveling to and from the polling location via on-campus buses. Through partnerships with BallotReady, WHUS Radio, and other campuswide organizations, UConnPIRG will ensure that each registrant, regardless of where they plan to vote, receives reliable and unbiased information about their local political candidates; thus students can become better-informed by Election Day.

Of course, no party is complete without supplemental festivities. Scavenger hunt participants will play games and engage in voting-related interactive activities, all with the chance of winning a free T-shirt. UConnPIRG will also give away custom-designed buttons and provide cake, allowing each attendee to literally pin their civic passion across their heart and taste a slice of democracy. Furthermore, other campuswide organizations, including WHUS Radio and USG, will hold informational tables for those interested. As an additional perk, the party has been designated as an Honors Event (under the “Social Change, Service, & Sustainability” category), so those who are pursuing Sophomore Honors can fulfill an academic requirement. In short, this lively event satisfies several desires.

Any interested parties should check out the “NVP Ballot Party” Facebook event page, publicly express their intent to attend (or at the very least their interest in doing so) and share the page across their social media accounts. Gagnon and UConnPIRG vice chair and NVP campaign coordinator Emily O’Hara can provide further details regarding the event and same-day volunteer opportunities. UConnPIRG will party like there is a tomorrow for democracy, and UConn’s vibrant student body should partake in the fun, chanting “I’m a Husky, I’m a voter!”