Along with other colleges across the nation this week, SLU encouraged students to register and vote in the coming elections.


Over the past few years and the past few elections, voting has been pushed as a right and responsibility, and there has been more encouragement for younger generations to vote. Universities emphasize the importance of voting among their students by handing out voter registration forms and setting up voting booths for easy access. SLU recently took part in this movement over the past few weeks – particularly on Sept. 25, which was National Voter Registration Day. But why should students vote?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.1 percent of people aged 18-29 voted in the 2016 presidential election while 70.9 percent of people 65+ voted. Recently, there has been a push to get students and younger generations of Americans to vote, since the majority of voters are working or retired adults.

One freshman student stated that young voters are vital to upcoming elections because “voting is a privilege as a U.S. citizen,” and that your “voice in government is how you contribute to the American society.” The student also mentioned that voting is not about “what kind of person is elected but rather about their stance on certain issues that impact your own personal life.”

Voting is a privilege as a U.S. citizen. [your] Voice in government is how you contribute to the American society.

Leah Sweetman, an Assistant Director at the Center for Service and Community Engagement, spoke on how they assisted with National Voter Registration Day. The Center was able to successfully register over 125 students on Sept. 25 and plan to continue on-campus registration through Oct. 10 (the deadline to register in Missouri for November elections).

Sweetman also said that, “Having an administration that values voter engagement … reminds us that one purpose of education is to prepare young people … to participate in a democratic society.” She also emphasized that voting not only matters in presidential elections but also local elections, as these often have a stronger impact on residents.

Having an administration that values voter engagement … reminds us that one purpose of education is to prepare young people … to participate in a democratic society.

— Sweetman

The CSCE has been assisting students in voter registration since 2016 and focuses on three areas: voter registration, voter education and voter turnout. This year several students made a video promoting why voting matters to them. According to Sweetman, the CSCE was “excited that Billiken students made a great video explaining why voting matters to them,” and that it helped their cause immensely when “President Pestello sent a message to the University community encouraging everyone to register, be civil and then to vote.”

However, some students prefer to vote in their home state, utilizing the absentee ballot. One such student, Annie Ryan, a senior and native Coloradan, mentioned that she did not want to vote in Missouri because she is more familiar with the laws in her home state and feels like she is a more informed voter in Colorado, rather than Missouri.

Regardless of which state you are from, it is important for each student to take part in the upcoming and future elections by casting a ballot, whether it be an absentee ballot or a Missouri ballot. America’s history of suffrage has made voting an important American identity, and now students can exercise their right and responsibility to vote easily with the guidance of the CSCE.

If you need assistance regarding voting, please visit the Center for Service and Community Engagement in Wuller Hall Suite 204.