Rochester Institute of Technology leaders and students have begun a ROAR the Vote campaign, encouraging eligible RIT students to vote in this year’s presidential election.
“This campaign isn’t about telling students who to vote for,” said Kerry Foxx, director of the RIT Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, a ROAR the Vote sponsor. “ROAR the Vote is about giving students the tools and information they need to register and vote.”
RIT will offer students a shuttle to and from the polls from noon to 9 p.m. Nov. 8, Election Day.
Several students and RIT administrators posted videos to bit.ly/2bfoswX to support student voting.
“Every vote does count,” said RIT President Bill Destler in his video. “In fact, we could well have a very close election coming up, and I think it would be important for all of us to exercise our right to have influence on that result. You grow up, and one of the things you have to do is you have to exercise your civil responsibility. And one of your civic responsibilities is to participate in our democracy.”
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 14.
Voters must have lived in Monroe County at least 30 days prior to the election and be a U.S. citizen to be eligible, according to the Monroe County Board of Elections. Students who consider their residence outside of Monroe County can request absentee ballots from their home county. Deadlines for requests vary. In New York, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 1.
“Votes so clearly do count,” Rebecca Johnson, associate of RIT, said in her video. “That’s why politicians are spending so much money trying to get our vote. This election is the first election in which there are as many millennials as there are baby boomers, and they have a real potential for inserting a very powerful voice in this election.”
RIT has partnered with TurboVote, a web-based service provided by the nonprofit organization Democracy Works Inc. Users may request voter registration materials and absentee ballots online and can receive reminders of election dates and poll closings.
“You can’t complain about issues going on in your community and not say that you took any type of action or stand towards making a change,” Alyssa Alleyne Atherly, a fifth-year information technology major, said in her video.