By JAELYN LENTZ
Drake students got the chance to make their mark on the future of Iowa at an early voting site last Thursday, Oct. 11.
The Drake University campus is no stranger to political involvement. From presidential candidates roaming the campus leading up to the 2016 caucus to the plethora of Drake alumni on the Iowa ballot this year — among whom are Deidre Dejear, Abby Finkenauer and David Young — politics are a part of the social and educational fabric that makes up Drake University.
The Drake Democrats, in conjunction with the Coalition of Black Students, hosted an early voting rally with Democratic Secretary of State candidate and Drake alumna, Deidre Dejear. A group of students, campaign staff and the suffragettes who had been roaming around the Drake neighborhood encouraged the community to vote while gathered in Drake’s Black Cultural Center.
“It was here that I first voted,” Dejear said to the crowd. “Right around the corner at the First Christian Church in the ‘04 election. Just being able to exercise my right to vote in such a critical election as 2004 was. Then coming back here in 2018, and I’m actually on the ballot.”
After stressing the importance of everyone’s participation in this important election, she lead the group on a march to the Olmsted Center where she would join the students in casting their votes in the Nov. 6 election at the early voting location. As they approached the building, they chanted, “Use your voice! Use your vote!”
Pomerantz stage was hosting an organized mass of poll-workers who assisted students in choosing the correct ballot for their district as well as instructing them how to fill it out and seal it within the secrecy envelope.
One first-year student, William Rodriguez from Omaha, Nebraska, said he is registering here in Des Moines because, “I’m going to be living here for the next four years, so I’d like to be represented by the people in office.”
Many students stated that they voted because of the convenience of being able to vote on campus.
“It was easy,” said Collin Stephens, a senior at Drake University.“It was on campus.”
“I wasn’t doing anything else today,” Rodriguez said.
These comments and sentiments reaffirm the point Dejear brought up when interviewed about her plans if she were elected as Iowa’s Secretary of State to increase student voter turnout.
“I want to work with our deans of students and our college campuses to figure out ways to best engage the students on campus,” Dejear said.
She goes on to say that there have been colleges and universities in the past that are hesitant to bring voting to campus because of the inherent partisanship of it.
“We’ve gotta strip the partisanship away and focus on the true mechanism of voting,” Dejear said.
Between 9:00 am when the satellite polling location opened and 3:00 pm when they closed, 177 ballots were cast. For more information about how to vote here or at home, visit www.nass.org/can-i-vote or call the Polk County Auditor’s office at (515) 286-3247.