For Immediate Release—Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006
Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
SUNY Geneseo Fires Up its Voter Registration Campaign
GENESEO, N.Y.—In an attempt to help increase the impressive number of young voters locally and nationally who turned out for the 2004 presidential election, the State University of New York at Geneseo will participate in this year's National Voter Registration project.
The project, initiated by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), will cover 30 states with a goal of registering 40,000 students to vote for the 2006 election. The AAC&U project is part of a bigger push coordinated by Young Voter Strategies to register 350,000 young voters across the country before elections this fall, which take place Nov. 7. Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl serves as vice chairman of the AAC&U.
"This is a serious effort to get students engaged as citizens," says Tom Matthews, director of leadership education, development and training at SUNY Geneseo. "A huge part of citizenship is voting."
The goal this year is to get about 25 percent of the student body, or 1,300 students, to register and vote this year.
"In a democracy, voting is more than a privilege; it is an obligation. All of us who are the beneficiaries of higher education need to do our part to make democracy work," says Matthews.
"We have asked the faculty in every academic department to emphasize the importance of voting with their students. Many professors will make presentations for their classes aimed at teaching students the importance of voting. Many professors also will pass out voter registration cards in their classes so the students can fill them out while the topic is fresh on their minds. There are also events planned in various residence halls on campus to make sure the message is being heard by our younger students," says Matthews.
According to state law, all SUNY schools are required to provide a voter registration form to each student.
Other events on campus aimed at promoting voter registration include two candidate forums this fall. All of the candidates running in districts that represent Livingston County in the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly have been invited to participate in the first forum, which will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26 in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. The candidates running for the 26th Congressional district have been invited to attend the second forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, also in the ballroom.
"We have a great voter registration and turnout history amongst the students here," says Matthews. "There are a lot of students who really have a genuine interest in the issues being debated by our politicians. They really understand the big picture, which is that their lives are directly impacted by the person that wins each election. I really hope that all of the candidates choose to participate in the forums."
The candidate forums are open to the public. For more information, contact Matthews at (585) 245-5857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Joe Mignano, public relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.