Monday, August 16, 2010

Help a Hoosier out?: Our effort to get satellite voting on campus

Dear wonderful friends and allies in the quest for satellite voting on campus,

Many of you have listened to me or Jennifer Pike/Anne Rayne/Colin Diersing discuss why we so desperately need satellite voting on campus during midterm elections. A lot of us remember what it was like in 2008 to stand in line, weeks before Election Day, at the HPER knowing that we were about to vote in a historic election. For me, it was an experience that really stirred something inside of me. Most of you know exactly the feeling I'm talking about...

While this year is not a presidential election, we don't want to lose the enthusiasm that made IU such a politically active and engaged campus in 2008. With competitive elections across the board, it is crucial, now more than ever, that students are well versed on our candidates, their positions, and are then compelled to vote. Satellite voting allows for students to directly engage in this process without the constraints of having class on Election Day, not knowing where their polling place is, and for those who are simply not willing to wait in line. This is an accessibility issue.

That being said, our challenge is steep. We are presenting before an election board of two Republicans and one Democrat. We believe that this is not a partisan issue, it is a student issue. This is our opportunity to show that students are not apathetic in 2010, but they are in fact highly engaged and passionate about the direction of their communities, state, and nation. If satellite voting is passed, students will have a chance to prove that being a part of the civic process actually matters.

Over the past few months, we have collected over 200 signatures, contacted non-partisan student groups and have had several one on ones with people to explain the importance of the student vote. Now is the time for the big push!

We have submitted the following letter to the Election Board:
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August 16, 2010

Dear Monroe County Election Board,
We would like to thank you for supporting satellite voting on campus in 2008. In 2008, Indiana University Bloomington was alive with students, faculty, and locals who waited in lines to exercise their right to vote early. Due to satellite voting, Indiana University became a place that encouraged new voters to take part in the civic process, drew national attention for being a politically active community, and proved that Bloomington values the voices of all of its members. We ask you to prioritize these accomplishments and pass satellite voting on campus for 2010.

Passion for taking part in the civic process has lasting benefits. We want our future leaders of the Bloomington community, and beyond, to be students who are conscious of what is happening around them. There’s no greater way to do so than voting.

We ask that you allow us to present before the election board on August 25, 2010. With satellite voting on campus, we believe students will be able to fully feel invested in the community in which they are now living and carry that investment into the future.

Best,

Jennifer Pike, Kelly Smith, Colin Diersing and Anne Rayne

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Here's the role that you can play:

As an advocate for student rights, we would love for you to submit a letter to the editor at the Indy Star, Herald Times or Indiana Daily Student. We are trying to draw attention to how much of a community issue this is. If you are willing to write for either of the papers or have any other great ideas, please let me know! I'm also looking for non-partisan student groups who would be passionate about joining our efforts.

Many of you have been such a wonderful support system for me with this as well as with other IU College Democrat endeavors. It means the world to me that I have such lovely individuals in my life.

All the best,

Kelly
smithkp@indiana.edu
734.395.3009