Executive Branch, Temple Votes push student voter turnout

TSG and Temple Votes prepared students to become informed voters ahead of Election Day.

Sam Hall, a junior political science major and director of government affairs for Temple Student Government, wears a mask that says “Vote!” outside of Paley Hall on Oct. 29. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

It’s been a busy month for Temple Student Government and Temple Votes.

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the organizations used posters, websites and social media to inform students about polling locations, mail-in and in-person voting, and to encourage voter turnout. 

Sam Hall, a junior political science major and director of government affairs for TSG, spearheaded TSG’s civic engagement initiative, which includes creating a polling location on campus, centralizing voter registration with Temple Votes and ensuring voter registration is part of new student orientation.  

Civic and voter engagement were included in TSG’s platform to enhance voter “knowledge” and “accessibility,” because voter turnout rates among students are low, Hall said. 

Starting on Oct. 27, TSG initiated its voter education week program, leading up to Election Day, on its Instagram story. 

The topics introduced last week included the importance of voting, preparation for election week, opportunities to work and observe the polls, information regarding the candidates, races on the ballot and the Temple Votes Climate and #TUVotes campaigns, Hall wrote in an email to The Temple News.  

TSG worked with Temple Votes, a department within Student Affairs, to promote voter registration and education efforts on campus, according to the BloomTU initiative tracker. 

Temple Votes distributed informational posters with information about voting in person, specific polling locations  and the election protection phone number to residence halls and some apartment buildings, said Chris Carey, senior associate dean of students and a leader of Temple Votes for about a year.

Temple Votes worked with Diamond Edge Communications, a student advertising agency based out of the Klein College of Media and Communication, to create graphics and captions for posts on social media. 

“Once that information is available, we share it with the network of folks that were interested in and have worked on Temple Votes altogether, and TSG is one of those,” Carey said. 

Temple Votes also disseminated information to Temple faculty, schools and colleges about how students can make a plan to vote, as well as posting voter resources on the Temple Dean of Students Instagram, Carey said.

TSG collaborated with Temple Votes on a number of issues, including the establishment of the satellite election office at the Liacouras Center. 

The Liacouras Center satellite election office, which opened on Sept. 29, gave residents an easier opportunity to register to vote and get or drop off their mail-in ballots, The Temple News reported. Those who received a mail-in ballot can drop it off at the Liacouras Center until 8 p.m. on Election Day. 

TSG had no direct involvement with the implementation of the satellite election facility at the Liacouras Center, Hall said.

However, Quinn Litsinger, a junior political science major and student body president, “conducted research on the viability of a polling place on campus and brought the issue of a polling place up to Temple Votes and the Office of Government Affairs,” Hall wrote in an email to The Temple News.

TSG will continue to utilize social media engagement on Election Day by encouraging students to send in pictures of their “I Voted” sticker or waiting in line to vote, Hall said.

“We’re going to encourage students to share those little moments, definitely, to, you know, encourage people to go out if they’re hesitant or just, you know, make it a more enjoyable celebration than a stressful one,” Hall said. 

Before the Pennsylvania voter registration deadline on Oct. 19, Temple Votes’ main focus was voter registration, including an effort to make sure Temple students knew how to register to vote and if they wanted to be registered on campus or in their hometown, Carey said. 

Temple Votes did not push students to vote in person or by mail. Instead, it provided clear information about both processes, Carey said. 

Temple Votes also presented information regarding the importance of voting, voter registration and understanding who and what is on the ballot to student organizations around campus, Carey added.

On Election Day, Carey hopes that every student who is eligible to vote does so and that every student focuses on their own self-care in response to the stress associated with the election and other current concerns, he wrote in an email to The Temple News. 

Student engagement is important because students have the ability to swing the election, Litsinger said. 

“We’re talking about the fact that we’re a school in Pennsylvania, one of the major swing states in this election, so how much people our age show up [can] really make or break the result of this election one way or the other,” Litsinger added. 

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