By Adam Hornbuckle
This semester, the university launched an initiative, geared towards engaging students and faculty in the election process. This initiative, named LIU Votes, has been active on both the Post and Brooklyn campuses, and has included voter registration drives, absentee balloting, debate viewing parties, and open discussions.
Shuttles will be operating on Nov. 8 to get students and faculty to the local polling location at Jericho High School; those who entered LIU Post as their permanent address when registering to vote are assigned to vote at the Jericho High School in addition to residents who live in the area nearby the campus.
“The goal of LIU Votes is to provide LIU students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to participate in the election process, register, and vote in the November election,” said Michael Berthel, associate dean of students and director of campus life. “On-campus events are being held throughout the election season to encourage participation and engagement in the process. LIU Votes is a non-partisan initiative on both the LIU Brooklyn and LIU Post campuses.” Berthel added.
The office of Campus Life hosted viewing parties for all three presidential debates and the vice-presidential debate, in the End Zone. Samantha Resnick, a freshman musical theatre major, attended the first viewing party on Sept. 26.
“I went to the first presidential debate in the End Zone, I thought it was an interesting atmosphere. It was a nice communal event,” she said. “In my opinion, it’s important that students educate themselves in order to make a responsible choice.” This election will be Resnick’s first time voting.
Also in attendance at the first debate viewing party was freshman musical theatre major, Anna Gwaltney. “I think it’s great that the campus is having these events. It would be irresponsible if a college campus didn’t hold these types of events.” Gwaltney said.
In addition to hosting the four debate viewing parties, the office of Campus Life collaborated with the Nassau County League of Women Voters to hold voter registration and absentee ballot drives in Hillwood.
“Through our marketing campaign, we were able to register a high number of students and are continuing to encourage submissions of absentee ballots,” Berthel said. Students have been encouraged to submit absentee ballots at the campus concierge desk, so they can be promptly mailed out.
The LIU Votes website features information for would-be voters including the voter registration deadlines for each state, information on how to register, and how to apply for absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are popular among students who cannot make it home to vote. Aracely Garcia, a sophomore physics major, said, “I’m from Texas so voting via absentee ballot is my only option. As a minority and due to how the elections are going so far, I think it’s imperative I vote and absentee ballots allow me to do so.”
Commuters often opt to travel home to cast their vote, including Steven Frank, a sophomore pre-med major. “Exercising your right to vote is important and I think it’s extra important for young people to vote,” Frank said. “I live only 30 minutes away and it’s a nice experience going home to vote. My polling place is right around the corner from my house so it’s convenient.”
The office of Campus Life is planning to cap off this election season by organizing an election night event. Students are encouraged to attend and support their candidate as the final polls come in.