Political science sophomore Tyler Walker (third from left) holds an early voting sign during a Democratic Party rally at NCCU on Oct. 20. Photo by Evan Owens/Echo staff photographer.

Early voting kicks off at School of Law

October 26, 2016

As Election Day approaches, organizations that have campaigned for students to get out and vote hope their efforts have paid off in time for early voting on campus.

San Diego, Calif. attorney Peter Osetek said he volunteered five weeks of his time to come to Durham to work with North Carolina Coordinated Campaign. He, along with his coworkers, has been encouraging NCCU students to register to vote, and vote early.

“The excitement to vote is very high,” said Osetek. “It’s fun to see because the smiles, the thumbs ups, the responses to what could be an annoyance to some people. I haven’t felt that at all on the campus.”

N.C. Votes has also had a strong presence at NCCU in preparation for the upcoming presidential election. According to N.C. Votes volunteer Latashia Brown, the organization has one goal in mind: to get as many people as possible registered to vote.

“A lot of people say that they’re already registered,” Brown said when asked about the response she was receiving from students. “So we get a few students that say ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I don’t know if I want to vote,’ ‘I don’t know if I want to register today,’ or ‘I’m not going to vote.’ So we just try to tell them how important it is, and then eventually they’ll sign up.”

NCCU students seem to have grasped the importance of voting and recognize that their votes could affect the outcome of an election.

“I think voting is a duty. I don’t think that it is a right,” communication senior Kenneth Campbell said “I think that it is one of the most important things that you will do throughout your adult life, but I think that the gravity of voting is muted by the fact that we don’t do it so often. So people kind of lose that sense of importance because it’s not something that we do regularly, like on a daily or a weekly basis. It’s not like a bill that we pay. We pay bills all the time, but voting sometimes directly or indirectly can determine what our bills are going to look like.”

Business sophomore Jordan Shipman said at times she wasn’t sure if her vote would truly count. But she has a different perspective, now. Shipman registered to vote for the first time, earlier this month.

“I think that I’m the type of person to complain if something happened that I didn’t want to happen. So I want to try to have an effect on the outcome,” Shipman said.

Nursing sophomore Octavia Daniels said she’s excited to vote for the first time because it “gives us a voice.”

“It’s an important election because this is the first time we’ve ever had a woman as a presidential nominee for either party,” said Daniels. “I’m looking forward to early voting.”

Osetek said the college vote is important because people who vote young tend to continue to vote throughout their lives. He said he campaigned at NCCU “almost every day” for a week and that he noticed a difference in the number of registered voters, from one day to the next.

“The interest on Central’s campus is as high as I have seen anywhere,” Osetek said. “People seem to be aware of the significance of this election, and they’re excited to be participating in it.”

According to the N.C. Board of Elections, N.C. residents can register and vote on the same day using One Stop Absentee Voting (Early Vote) which began Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 5 at 1:00 p.m.

Early voting at NCCU begins at the Albert L. Turner Law School Building Thursday, Oct. 27. State identification and proof of residency are required to register at the site, but photo ID is not required to vote.

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