VE Ambassador Nick Doran saw a clear barrier to voting — and brought it down.
“Binghamton University was split into 3 voting districts and students were assigned a polling station based on their dormitory address. This led to numerous problems because students often changed residence halls. Every year, students forgot to re-register and they lost their right to vote.”
How did you solve the problem?
We worked with our Political Engagement Team, which consists of students, club leaders, community members and Board of Elections officials, to brainstorm ideas to best solve our districting problem. We formally brought our suggestions to the Board of Elections, and our voting districts were ultimately redistricted to make voting easier.
What impact did your initiative have?
Students are now districted by last name, not by their yearly dorm location. Although we had originally asked to combine the three districts into one, the Board of Elections decided to keep three districts due to population concerns. For official record keeping, the Board asked that we re-register students when they move residence halls. However, to make the process less burdensome, they created a unique and simple form for student use, in lieu of the one-page long voter registration application. Overall, voting will be easier and elections will be more efficient for years to come.
How has The AGF helped your team?
AGF training helped me brainstorm new ideas and approaches to solving a political engagement problem. Furthermore, success stories from other partner schools were helpful in planning and tackling the issue . Without AGF support, it would have been difficult to sustain and expand our efforts. Every little bit goes a long way for us.
What does it mean to Vote Everywhere?
“Vote Everywhere” is not just about voting. It means that everyone should participate in every democratic election, whether it be a general election or a school board election. But, Vote Everywhere also means people should be informed about the world around them. It is critical to know what issues are important in your local community, but also in your state, country and the world. The power of the vote is its symbolism and the influence that it holds. A chain reaction — change — begins with only one vote. That is the most beautiful part of voting.
About the Author
Nick Doran is second-year Ambassador at Binghamton University. He majors in economics and is pursuing an M.P.A with a concentration in local government. On campus, he is involved with the University Scholars and Peace Action, a club that educates students on warfare alternatives and promotes peace.