With the upcoming presidential election, student organizations on college campuses, including Eckerd, have made it their goal to educate young voters and give them the tools they need to understand the political world around them.
For many current Eckerd students, this is the first time they can participate in a presidential election, making it not only a important, but also a confusing experience, which raises the need for organizations that provide help to students. According to Pew Research Center, one in 10 eligible voters is a part of Generation Z, which creates an importance and an urgency for young students to vote.
PIRG is a nonpartisan organization whose goal is to spread information to voters and help with things like voter registration and mail-in ballots and answer general questions about elections. Sophomore Sofie Alexander, PIRG’s coordinator of studentvote.org on the New Voters Campaign, spoke about the club’s campaign to educate about online voting resources While having students learning remotely can be a disadvantage for many clubs, as they can’t interact with members or students directly, PIRG sees it differently.
“It’s really difficult to interact with strangers in person, so having these tools online instead of trying to do it in person is really helpful for us,” Alexander said.
Once students are on campus, they have the opportunity to intern with PIRG, or volunteer for them, including tabling and phone banking.
EC Democrats is a partisan club that offers voter information and helps students who want to change their voting status.
“Pinellas County is a swing county in a swing state,” Alexa Schein*, president of EC Democrats, said.
Another club at Eckerd, Generation Action, mainly focuses on raising awareness for reproductive health and rights, but also promotes voting for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Before the Nov. 3 Presidential election, all of Generation Action’s recent events have been connected to voting, including a discussion about Joe Biden, a presentation on the history of voting rights and phone-banking for the Biden-Harris campaign. Similar to PIRG, their goal for fall semester is mainly to spread information about voting and the importance of federal, state and local elections.
Eckerd is just one of many schools across the country with projects that promote voting. John Fine is a part of Swing Left at George Washington University, which is a nationwide organization whose goal is to win important swing and battleground districts for Democrats. However, a massive roadblock to the organization is the fact that many students aren’t on campus.
“It’s really difficult to reach people,” Fine said. “Swing Left tried to send letters out with voter information, but with all the issues facing the postal service, it didn’t work out.” . Through all this, Fine is hopeful, and continues to push the message, “Go out and Vote!”
*Alexa Schein was a contributing writer for The Current*