Close to 200 incoming Middle Tennessee State University students are now eligible to cast ballots this fall, thanks to the ongoing True Blue Voter Initiative.
Announced in mid-June, the True Blue Voter Initiative targeted the recently completed summer CUSTOMS orientation sessions for incoming freshmen to register them as part of a partnership between MTSU and the Rutherford County Election Commission, which provides expertise about absentee voting and voter registration.
Organizers said 195 students have been registered since mid-May, and more are expected this fall as the election commission, True Blue Voter project, Student Government Association and the American Democracy Project at MTSU help students with registration procedures and voting information during events such as the Sept. 17 Constitution Day activities.
Election Commission Administrator Alan Farley called the initiative a “model partnership” that extends beyond Rutherford County by helping students register to cast ballots, including absentee ballots, in any Tennessee county. Of those registered thus far, 129 live outside Rutherford County.
“I am very pleased with our initial results. The True Blue Voter initiative was able to engage and start the dialogue for civic engagement for many students,” Farley said.
“This will grow with each incoming class at MTSU. I look forward to expanding upon the registration process by helping these, and other students already registered to vote, obtain their absentee ballots so they can cast their votes in the November general election.”
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and university Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen Smith joined Farley in introducing the drive June 12 at the Miller Education Center.
“Informed citizenship, followed by a duty and obligation to vote, is the cornerstone of the most free society the world has ever known — and that’s us,” said Smith, an MTSU alumnus. “And so, I am thrilled to witness this dream, and the goal of our students in action and interaction, become a reality.”
McPhee said CUSTOMS “presented a tremendous opportunity to provide an easy and convenient way for students to register to vote,” while the initiative itself “helps mitigate the roadblocks and walks students through the steps of requesting an absentee ballot and casting their vote by mail.”
For more information about the new True Blue Voter Initiative, visit the website at http://mtsu.edu/truebluevoter or contact Cathy Sgambati, public relations specialist, at 615-898-5348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Jimmy Hart (email@example.com)