For the second year in a row, Elon was designated a voter friendly campus in a project started in partnership with Fair Election’s Center’s Campus Vote Project and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Elon was one of 14 North Carolina schools given this designation and one of 258 schools nationwide.
Elon Votes announced this designation April 16 and Co-lead Voting Ambassador Ruby Radis said this designation was earned in part due to the work her organization put into making voting easier for students.
“While it seems like a given here, a lot of other campuses that don't have that kind of access, voting can be really hard,” Radis said.
Elon Votes had events leading up to Election Day to help students register to vote and get absentee ballots and transported people to the polls during elections. This was also the first year the early voting site on Elon’s south campus was available.
Now, Elon Votes is working on its 2024 election plan. Radis said they have been looking at what worked in years past and what’s worked at other campuses. Radis said even though 2023 isn’t an election year for Alamance County, their plan for 2024 elections starts now.
Sophomore Allison Durand, director of outreach for Elon Votes, said this certification is important as it helps the rest of campus stay engaged with voting.
“We talk a lot about how to maintain the amount of votes being relevant, especially in semesters where we don't have elections,” Durand said. “I think that this certification will definitely give us a boost in the public eye. So in that sense, I think it'll really help us engage with our student body.”
Radis said some of her favorite events Elon Votes put on this past year involved the conversations they facilitated, not just driving people to polls and filling out absentee ballots. One of the events Elon Votes hosted was in collaboration with Deliberative Dialogue, an event with a different topic each semester that gives students, faculty staff and community members a chance to discuss a policy issue.
Radis said this semester the topic was, “How Should We Prevent Mass Shootings in Our Communities?” This event brought over 70 attendants, and Radis said this allowed her to hear different perspectives on how to answer the prompt.
“It's super important that everyone knows that Elon Votes exists because it's not only an organization to try and get people to vote but also to answer questions,” Radis said.