Monmouth University won its conference in the 2018 New Jersey Ballot Bowl by registering over 500 total voters through multiple events and classroom visits across campus. A ceremony and trophy presentation was held to honor Monmouth, as well as other conference winners Rutgers-Newark and Montclair State University, at the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.
The New Jersey Ballot Bowl was created by New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way to encourage all Americans to participate fully in our democracy. The contest is a non-partisan, statewide collegiate voter registration competition in which students at campuses across the state compete against one another to register the most students to vote. The winners are divided into three conferences: schools with a student population of over 40,000; schools with a student population of between 5,000 and 40,000; and schools with a student population of under 5,000.
Landon Myers, senior and president of the Political Science Club, helped to organize Monmouth’s voter registration process. The Political Science Club hosted two “Rock the Vote” events with live music, pizza, and t-shirt giveaways at the Rebecca Stafford Student Center to encourage members of the campus community to register to vote. Myers and other students also visited over 50 different classrooms to educate classmates on deadlines and the voting process. The efforts led to registering more than 300 students on campus, with at least another 200 submitting forms via mail.
“Getting students registered to vote could not be more important as young people are the least likely to vote, yet have to live with the decisions made by politicians longer than any other voting demographic,” Myers said. “It’s our future, so we need to make sure we add our voice to the decisions.”
Joe Patten, associate professor of political science, added that the focus of this initiative was on getting students to vote, not how they would vote. “One of the most exciting things about the voter registration drive on campus this year is that it included students, faculty, and administrators from all political stripes,” Patten said. “It was inspiring to see conservatives and liberals and people somewhere in between working together for the common purpose of raising political awareness on campus.”