- not biased or partisan, especially toward any particular political group. (Merriam-Webster)
plural noun: donuts
- a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape of a ball or ring.
On Wednesday October 26, Dub C Votes hosted a major voter education push across North and South Campus, called “Donut Forget to Vote.” Volunteers hosted tables throughout the day, distributing non-partisan election resources, pins displaying the title, and donut holes. They engaged with over 200 students, passing out materials, looking up polling locations, and sharing pumpkin spice Munchkins. Through a common love for donuts, students were able to become more informed and prepared for the voting process.
While most materials were designed to reach voters at large, one part of the event focused on each student within an individual framework. On each table were “Dub C Votes” cards, where students are encouraged to write why they vote. The card allows them to take a step back, and reflect on why they have chosen to participate in the political process. Hundreds of cards have been filled out during the semester, all of which establish a collective celebration of our civic engagement as young adults. Murals will be made out of the red, white, and blue cards, and hung across campus on Election Day. These are a small and powerful example of steps taken on campus to establish voter identity in students. When students feel empowered by their ability to vote, they are more likely to take ownership over their right to make their voice heard.
Dub C Votes targets three main aspects of the election process: Voter Registration, Voter Education, and Voter Identity. The last remains most vital to establishing voter continuity among younger generations.
In his TED Talk, leadership expert Simon Sinek discusses the Golden Circle model for inspirational leadership. Three circles depict the range of effectiveness within leadership practices: the “what” of a project, the “how”, and the most effective, “why.” When taken into the context of on campus voter engagement, Voter Registration lends itself as the “what”. Registering to vote is the action students take to enable them access to the polling station. It remains a strong step in the right direction, however students need more motivation to show up to the polls on November 8th. Educating students on their polling location, their rights as a voter, and providing resources on candidates serves as the “how.” This prepares students for election day, resulting in a higher turnout of first time voters, as they feel comfortable entering the process on their own. Dialogues of voter identity and the importance of voting lead to the “why.” When students understand why they’re making the effort to vote, their vote then gains personal legitimacy. After walking away from the ballot, first time voters can take pride in making their voice heard, and participating in democracy.
All of these aspects hold importance in empowering students to vote; the center of the Golden Circle empowers a generation of lifelong voters. Students with a strong voter identity are committed to their role in shaping the future, and engaging others along the way.
This Election Day, vote with a purpose. Celebrate your fulfilled civic duty. Talk about why voting matters with your friends, and gain different perspectives on your shared experience. If it’s your first time at the polls, congratulations.
It’s the first time of many.