With one week’s worth of voter registrations in the files, Steve Daugherty is on the go on the MTSU campus.
Under the auspices of the university’s chapter of the American Democracy Project for Civic Learning, the retired U.S. Army major and former MTSU military science professor is pitching his tent in different places around campus each week to attract new voters to sign up before the Oct. 5 deadline to vote in the Nov. 3 election.
“Making voter registration available to all our students is required by federal law,” said Dr. Mary Evins, ADP coordinator and a history professor at MTSU. “Civic learning/engagement is integral to our university’s core mission.”
After a trial run Aug. 24-27 on the lawn of the Paul W. Martin University Honors College, Daugherty and his fellow volunteers moved to the south side of Peck Hall, where they registered voters Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
The remaining voter registration schedule on campus is:
• Sept. 8-10, lawn of Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building, 610 Champion Way.
• Sept. 14-17, circle in front of James E. Walker Library, 1611 Alumni Drive.
• Sept. 21-24, lawn of Emmett and Rose Kennon Sports Hall of Fame, 1320 Greenland Drive.
• Sept. 28-Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, lawn of Paul W. Martin University Honors College, 1737 Blue Raider Drive.
With help from members of the Murfreesboro chapter of the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, Daugherty said he hopes to help improve Tennessee’s dismal election turnout rates.
“In 2016, Tennessee had the third worst voter participation rate in the nation,” Daugherty said. “The only two states that did worse were West Virginia and Hawaii.”
The November 2020 election features the race for president between incumbent President Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Congressional and state legislative races are on the ballot as well.
MTSU voter registration volunteers are following campuswide COVID-19 protocols, which have resulted in fewer students on campus as many have opted for online or hybrid coursework.
Daugherty said some students may already have registered before the Aug. 6 primary.
Daugherty urged all citizens to register and to exercise their right to vote so that their voices will be heard.
The general election is set for Nov. 3, and early voting is set Oct. 14-29.
“Politicians and politics affect everything we do in our lives, and politicians only listen to those who vote,” Daugherty said.
For more information, contact Evins at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina Logue (email@example.com)