BYU College Democrats club focuses on increasing political participation

The BYU College Democrats’s opening social was held over Zoom on Sept. 17. This semester, BYU Dems is focusing on voter registration and campaign involvement. (Emma Gadeski)

The BYU College Democrats club is focusing on increasing political participation this semester by encouraging voter registration and campaign involvement.

To encourage students to vote, the club created an initiative in which club members help students register to vote and request absentee ballots, club officer Luke Romney said. The goal of the voter registration initiative is to get as many people to cast their ballot in November as possible.

“This is a crucial time to vote, and it’s important that as many people as possible are able to do so, even in the midst of a global pandemic,” Romney said.

Club co-president Abigail Ryan said it’s important for students to register to vote and be involved in politics because this upcoming election “will impact legislation for generations to come.” 

“This election is a really pivotal moment in U.S. history, and I want my generation to help tackle COVID-19, climate change, racism, transphobia and many other issues we are facing today,” she said. “We have so much power when we vote.”

Students who need help with this year’s voting process can fill out this form

In addition to the voter registration initiative, club members are also helping students get involved in campaigns. At the opening social on Sept. 17, club officers went over some of the local campaigns students can participate in. One is recent BYU grad Jenna Rakuita’s campaign. Rakuita is running to represent Provo — District 63 — in the Utah State Legislature. 

Club officers played a video from Rakuita at the meeting. She said that if her campaign is a success, “We will send a message to the university, to the state and to the country that BYU is a place of inclusion. In Provo, women use their voices. In Provo, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are accepted. In Provo, Black lives matter. And in Provo, young people engage in politics and they vote.”

The club also encouraged students to participate in the campaigns of Democrats Ben McAdams, who is running for reelection in the U.S. House of Representatives; David Hunt, who is running to represent District 51 in the Utah House of Representatives; and Joe Biden

Co-president Sarah Koger introduces club events. All events will be held over Zoom this semester. (Emma Gadeski)

Ryan said another way for club members to participate is by becoming a poll worker, as most poll workers are high-risk individuals like senior citizens.

“Regardless of political opinion, our future is being made and I think we, as college students, deserve a say in it,” Romney said.

Some activities this semester include meeting with LDS Democrats and debating with the BYU College Republicans. The club will hold all events over Zoom.

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