Norwich professor creates voter registration website for students
Norwich University Political Science professor Jason Jagemann wants the voices of college students far from home on Election Day to be heard at the polls. Jagemann has created a website to help students learn about voting via absentee ballots.
"I am acutely aware of low levels of voter turnout among college students in general, and the paucity of information that the younger generation has about ballot access -- especially absentee ballot access and processes," Jagemann said. "While younger college students may be energized about participating in a presidential election -- for many it is a civic rite of passage -- there are institutional obstacles that they must hurdle in order to simply cast their ballots."
A national survey conducted by Harvard University's Institute of Politics in 2003 found that 39% of college students who intended to vote in the 2004 presidential election would vote through absentee ballots. Jagemann decided to help accommodate these students by creating a voter registration website. The website has a state-by-state breakdown of voter registration and absentee ballot laws. Students can also navigate to the site and click on the state where they were registered to vote. From there, visitors to the site will find deadlines for requesting an absentee ballot, forms to download, and deadlines for mailing their ballots to the respective state's election board.
"In addition, under the auspices of the Political Science Club of Norwich University (POLITEA), I plan to set up voter registration drives and absentee ballot information sessions and forums early in the semester," Jagemann said. "POLITEA members and I will also set up shop in The Mill and the dining hall.
"Norwich University is a unique institution where students wear their civic pride on their sleeves," Jagemann said. "Perhaps there is no other greater civic duty than helping to equip others with information [on] how they can participate in the political system and have their voices heard. My goal is to serve as an ambassador of voter registration/absentee ballot education for students on this campus."
firstname.lastname@example.org, August 2004