To ensure every student who wants to vote gets the opportunity on Tues. Nov. 6, UW Oshkosh students, staff and faculty have been working hard to combat confusion around voter registration and the Voter ID Law and get students registered to vote in advance.
“[The Voter ID Law] is currently under an injunction, so it’s held up in court,” said James Krueger, political science professor. “As a result, the provisions of that law don’t apply right now.”
Krueger said he believes legislation intended to improve voter verification methods is actually making it “increasingly difficult for people to participate in democracies.”
“I don’t see restrictions getting any easier in this country,” he said.
To prepare students for some of the barriers they might face when stepping up to vote, Krueger, in collaboration with other members of the political science department, decided to use a hands-on approach to teach his Introduction to Civic Engagement course.
“We thought the activities related to voter registration are the types of skills [the students] need to develop in order to purse whatever else their interests are,” he said. “They have to contact people, they have to make a case that voter registration is a good thing and then they have to help people work their way through the forms.”
Along with interns from the American Democracy Project, Krueger’s students registered at least 350 students to vote before the pre-registration period ended on Oct. 17. Each student tried to register at least 25 other students by setting up non-partisan registration tables in Reeve Memorial Union and in the residence halls.
“It was pretty fun just talking to people, getting to know what they think about the process and everything,” said Jacob Rozenberg, a junior studying political science.
Now that the pre-registration window has closed, voters will need to register at the city clerk’s office or at the polls on Nov. 6 with proof of residence in hand.
“If they are on a tight schedule on voting day, they’re going to have to get there a little earlier because they’re going to have to get in a separate line to register and then get back in the voting line,” said Sami Duehring, a sophomore studying political science. “Just make sure you time it wisely because if you’re busy that day, it’s going to be crunch time.”
Although Krueger’s interns and students learned vital communication and civic engagement skills during this process, Krueger sees it as something much bigger.
“What we really see these students doing is providing a service to the campus community,” he said.
Written by College of Letters and Science intern Morgan Counts.