By Katherine Sypher 

Friday afternoon, members of UConnPIRG organized a BallotReady Block Party to get UConn students excited to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

UConnPIRG is a student-directed and student-funded nonpartisan nonprofit on campus. The purpose of the BallotReady Block Party was to help students get excited about voting.

The event, held on the UConn student terrace, featured numerous UConn organizations, including Her Campus, USG, Nutmeg Publishing, and WHUS Radio.  

Jessica Gagnon is the Civic Engagement and Education Coordinator with the New Voter’s Project for UConnPIRG.

The goal of the New Voter’s Project is to register 2,500 UConn students to vote in the upcoming election. The New Voter’s Project also wants to create a more voter-positive culture at UConn.

Gagnon says that it’s important for students to vote.

“Our generation is the largest and the most diverse voting block in the country. And yet, we turn up to the polls the least,” said Gagnon. “That means that every other generation is making all of these decisions for us, and if we want a future where there’s legislation that benefits us, we need to put people into positions of power who are going to make those choices,” Gagnon says.

Fifth year graduate student Emily Napear agrees. Napear also says it’s important for college students to be informed on voter issues.

“I think a lot of people use the excuse that they aren’t informed about the vote or aren’t informed about the issues, but I think we have the resources and tools to be able to  get ourselves informed, so I think it’s our civic duty and important to do that,” Napear says.

UConnPIRG members Rebecca Sheehan and Joshua Camputaro talk with students at the BallotReady Block Party. Photo: Alexandra Urban

UConnPIRG wants voters to be as informed as possible when they head to the polls. Websites like BallotReady.org can help students research the candidates in their district.

Midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6. Local polls will be held in the Mansfield Community Center from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Individuals in line at 8:00 p.m. must still be allowed to vote.  

UConnPIRG will be providing free buses throughout the day on November 6, leaving from the Student Union, to help students reach the voting booth.

Gagnon and UConnPIRG have a simple message for UConn students: “Vote. Our futures depend on it, so make an informed decision based on your values and your identity and what you want to see in the future.”

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