Last Tuesday, which was Election Day, APSU’s chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) sponsored a campus event to encourage voting among young people.
The student-run organization took the initiative to change the way students perceive the voting process by turning voter recruitment into a ‘party.’
This is the first event of its kind to take place at APSU.
Though several organizations have promoted voter registration in the past, none have made it quite this relaxed.
Mia Collins, the Public Relations Specialist for the APSU NAACP chapter, explained the idea behind ‘Party to the Polls.’
“Two years ago, they actually had a ‘Souls to the Polls’ where they took people to the polls. We thought it would be cool to have a DJ and a party theme with free food to let people come out and bond with each other over voting,” Collins said.
The ‘Party to the Polls’ event was held on the Foy Fitness Center basketball court from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It provided a means for students who ordinarily would not have a way to get to the polls to be able to participate in the midterm election.
The organization provided transportation for students who needed a ride to their local polling place.
In the meantime, there was also a live DJ, dancing, food and activities which helped draw a crowd.
Junior Lauryen Harris is the current chapter president. She facilitated the event in a hope to emphasize the importance of voting to students.
“I was happy that we could serve some of the students on campus who don’t have cars because that was the main focus,” Harris said. “They want young people to go vote, yet young people live on campuses where they don’t have cars and can’t get places so we tried to fill that gap so that they could participate.”
Many people from the Clarksville chapter of NAACP and the community helped lend their services to APSU students on Election Day.
Nearby churches even lent their buses for students to be able to go out and cast their ballot.
Sophomore Kailysia Beckwith, was able to vote simply because of the encouraging environment, a result of this particular event.
“I felt that my voice was heard. I’m a first-time voter so I felt like I actually had an opportunity or some type of power in the political sense to be able to express my opinions and feelings about who’s in power,” Beckwith said.
Overall, through this event, the APSU NAACP tried to make a purposeful impact against the stereotype that young people do not vote.
They showed that by working together many obstacles can have less of an impact on young people and their right to vote.