Story and photo by Zachery Wright/ Contributing Writer
MTSU’s Graduate Student Association held an election education lecture Friday night at the Student Union with the goal of expanding undergraduate voter participation in the 2016 presidential election.
The lecture was entitled “Expanding the Vote – and Steps Backward: Forming a More Perfect Union Requires that We Vote,” and was the last event in the “Prep Your Vote: Election Education Series.” The keynote speaker of the series and Director of American Democracy Project, Mary Evins, focused on civil service and what it means to be a voter.
Evins began her speech by reinforcing the importance of registering to vote and voting.
“Citizenship is far more than voting, certainly voting more than every two to four years, but yet there is no civil act that is more baseline to the work of being an American citizen,” Evins said. “Nothing less than the trajectory of the United States rides on the election this month.”
Evins went on to discuss slander during the 2016 presidential election being, what she describes as, the worst it has ever been. She compared some of the scandals in the current election with other elections in the United States in the past 200 years.
“The arc of the moral universe is…bending more and more towards justice. Which it has assuredly done in the 229 years since the beginning of this country, with however, remarkable and significant setbacks that have happened all along the way,” Evins said.
Near the end of her lecture, Evins accepted questions from the audience. Kimberli Conro, the Graduate Student Association President, asked what some of the biggest challenges of getting people politically involved are.
Evins responded that it is all about education and pushes for implementation of civic learning for everyone, not just political science majors.
“There is a national movement out there in creating a campus in which your campus has a civic ethos; it has civic learning, civic knowledge and civic engagement. So that it is pervasive, not partial. Its central, not peripheral to the identity of the university,” Evins said.
For information on personal voter registration and local polls, visit tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup.