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The Dartmouth
May 30, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth Votes coalition hosts voter registration drive

Students who hail from states with strong political leanings said that they are eager to vote in New Hampshire due to its swing state status.

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Dartmouth Civics, Dartmouth Student Government and the Office of Student Life — which together make up the Dartmouth Votes coalition — hosted a voter registration drive on Nov. 6 in Collis Common Ground, which resulted in around 100 new voter registrations, according to Dartmouth Civics co-president Bea Burack ’25. The event also was sponsored by the Dartmouth NAACP, the Pi Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Theta Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Theta Zeta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. 

Burack said Dartmouth Civics helped organize the event because registering to vote is the first step to becoming “involved” in the political landscape and having a “broader impact” on your community. About 30 students helped run the event, Burack added.

“I think that it’s really important that we as Dartmouth students — who are really engaged with the world and learning about all sorts of different issues in school every day — are also putting into practice the civic skills that are necessary for us to be engaged members of not only this community, but whatever communities we go out and join after we leave Dartmouth,” she said.

Christian Iturri ’27 said that he attended the event because of the importance of voting in swing states, such as New Hampshire.

“I think [registering to vote in Hanover] is very important because I think more young people should get involved, especially in a state as contentious as New Hampshire,” Iturri said. 

According to The Dartmouth’s past coverage, New Hampshire voters are often centrists who may vote for either Democratic or Republican candidates. Split-ticket voting is also common and plays a role in New Hampshire being a swing state.

To register to vote, students had to provide a valid driver’s license or Dartmouth ID, a physical copy or photo of their passport or birth certificate and proof of their residence in Hanover, according to a flier for the voter registration drive.

Attendee Sydney Lee ’27 said that it was “easy” to compile the registration documents required to register.

“This event makes it really easy for people who don’t have access or don’t know how [to register],” she said.

Lee added that she decided to register to vote in New Hampshire instead of her home state of California because of California’s strong Democratic makeup. 

“I think [my vote] will count more here than if I was in San Francisco,” she said.

Iturri agreed, saying that he decided to vote in New Hampshire instead of Texas because his “vote will go further.”

Burack said that Dartmouth Civics was founded last winter after she noticed a lack of information and engagement among Dartmouth students with regard to elections.

“I realized that there was a gap there, where Dartmouth students are really engaged in a lot of ways with their communities, but some aren’t as engaged with elections themselves,” she said. “There was a need for students to have access to information about local elections.”

To remedy this problem, Burack and other students began holding tabling events last fall, she said.

“We got a bunch of friends involved,” she said. “People could walk by, and if they had questions [including]: When’s the election? How do I vote absentee in my state? Where do I go to find out information about who’s running? They could come talk to us, and we talked to over 300 students, which was really great.”

These informational events aimed to make voting and registering to vote for the first time “a little bit less daunting and a little bit more fun,” Burack added.

This year, Burack said that Dartmouth Civics is planning to hold more events throughout the winter leading up to the presidential primary, adding that the group plans to focus on local elections in the spring.

Burack said that Dartmouth Civics is working to create a culture of civic responsibility at Dartmouth.

“We as an organization are not trying to incentivize students to vote one way or another,” she said. “We’re really just committed to getting students the resources they need and empowering them in that way to make their own decisions.”

Correction appended (Nov. 10, 3:10 p.m.): The title and lede paragraph of this article have been updated to clarify that Dartmouth Civics, Dartmouth Student Government and the Office of Student Life, which make up the Dartmouth Votes coalition, co-hosted the voter registration drive.