Penn student groups celebrated National Voter Registration Day with tabling events on Tuesday.
Penn Leads the Vote, Penn Democrats, and the Asian Pacific Student Coalition each held events on Locust Walk to encourage students to register to vote. The registration deadline in Pennsylvania is Oct. 23 ahead of the Nov. 7 election, in which registered voters will elect various state judicial candidates as well as a new mayor of Philadelphia and City Council members.
After helping students check their voter registration status, register for the first time, and request mail-in ballots as necessary, Penn Leads the Vote provided students with shirts and food donated by community retailers on College Green.
Co-Director of Penn Leads the Vote and College senior Elizabeth Ford said the high availability of polling locations on Penn’s campus is a reason why students should engage in voting.
“We’re really privileged to have the access to voting that we do — we have several polling places on campus, which is a unique position to be in,” she said. “Many people have barriers to voting, whether that be having to get on public transit, or working all day, but Penn students have the luxury of walking just a few steps to Houston Hall or to ARCH to cast their ballots.”
Furthermore, Ford added that college years are a formative time, and hopes to develop consistent voting habits now so that Penn students “will be engaged citizens for life.”
Ben Jurutka, the political director of Penn Dems and a College senior, told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the student organization has been in contact with National Voter Registration Day — the organization behind the annual event — to coordinate outreach. The organization provided Penn Dems with stickers to hand out to voters, which Jurutka noted seems to be encouraging.
According to Jurutka, this is the third voter registration event that Penn Dems has hosted this semester, with a fourth planned for October.
APSC and Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance tabled outside of Steinberg-Dietrich Hall and offered a boba voucher to students who registered to vote.
“I believe it is really important to encourage people to vote and make the process exciting," APSC member and College sophomore Avia Weber wrote to the DP. "By offering boba, a college staple, I believe that APSC has great potential to increase voter registrations among college students because we all know that college students love free things."
Penn College Republicans Political Director and College sophomore Peter Kapp told the DP that while they recognize the importance of voting to uphold democracy, he believes that students should remain registered in their hometowns.
“We vote to offer our input on the societies in which we have a vested interest, so to register in the swing state of Pennsylvania for an electoral advantage is antithetical to our democracy,” Kapp wrote in a statement.
Senior reporter Dedeepya Guthikonda contributed reporting.