TU Votes Coalition gives students resources to make their voices heard
Celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of September, National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a civic holiday honoring U.S. democracy through ensuring eligible voters are registered.
Since it was first observed in 2012, nearly 3 million Americans have registered to vote, thanks to programs and activities surrounding NVRD.
For this year’s holiday—held on Tuesday, Sept. 22—Towson University and the TU Votes Coalition have developed special physically distanced programming to register members of the TU community to vote this November.
Luis Sierra, assistant director for civic engagement in TU’s Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility, says with voter registration being so important, he’s excited to see so many members of the TU community engaged.
“Knowing that so many members of the TU community are involved in these efforts is great, because it means that we continue to take steps forward to institutionalize voter engagement at Towson University,” Sierra says. “We strive to provide resources and opportunities for every student, faculty and staff member to consider the TU Votes initiative as part of their Towson University experience.”
Here is how Towson University will be part of National Voter Registration Day and how to get involved.
Join the TU Votes NVRD Virtual Couch Party Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. Register for the virtual event via Zoom. The TU Votes NVRD Virtual Couch Party will build community and reach out to friends and family, making sure they have everything they need to raise their voice in November. So, grab your favorite snacks and your phone, enjoy some music and empowerment and be a part of the movement. We might need to be physically distanced, but we will not be disconnected.
Why do you vote? When you cast your ballot, who's on your mind or which causes do you care about? Share your why on social media using #TUVotes, especially on National Voter Registration Day.
Whether in your virtual classroom, student organization meeting or events, we invite all student organizations and campus departments to integrate voter engagement—especially on National Voter Registration Day.
TU Athletes Vote is launching a “Honk If You Plan to Vote” campaign designed to get voting motorists to “salute” their intention to vote. On Sept. 22, TU Athletes Vote student-athlete and coach committee members will be stationed at both the Osler Rd. and Bosley Rd. bridges from 7–11 a.m. and then again from 4–7 p.m.
Banners will be hung from those bridges, and student-athletes will hold individual signs spelling out “Honk If You Plan to Vote” while maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks and remaining 6 feet apart.
While these initiatives support National Voter Registration Day, Sierra wants to remind students that that voter registration will continue for several weeks.
In Maryland, the deadline to register to vote or change your registration is Tuesday, Oct. 13. Students who intend to register outside of Maryland can find their voter registration deadlines here.
“We also encourage members of the TU community to visit towson.edu/TUVotes for the latest program calendar,” Sierra says. “And most importantly, spread the word to their peers, not only about the rest of our event lineup but about all the information and resources available.”
The TU Votes Coalition will continue to plan events all the way through Election Day, including virtual debate watches, documentary screenings, social media campaigns and issue-based discussions. However, registration is just the first step. According to Sierra, the TU Votes Coalition is working on getting out the vote in November.
During the 2016 presidential election, 87.1% of TU students registered to vote but only 60.7% handed in ballots.
“Simply put, registering to vote is only half of the equation,” Sierra says. “Turning that registration into voter turnout is the goal so that our students can meaningfully use their voices to advocate for the issues that they care about.”
To get more registered students to the polls, the TU Votes Coalition will encourage them to use the sources on TurboVote and at towson.edu/tuvotes to get educated about the upcoming election, ensure their voter registration records are correct and request their mail-in ballot if necessary.
This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.