By Erin Woo
Over 400 students showed up on Saturday to a voter turnout event organized by StanfordVotes, an initiative held by Stanford in Government (SIG).
The event, “Party at the Post Office,” provided a chance for students to print absentee ballot registration forms, receive free stamps and envelopes and have their ballots notarized, as well as get free In-N-Out hamburgers.
“We felt as though we needed to make the voting process more accessible to Stanford students, so instead of asking them to come to us at the Haas Center for resources, we brought the information and resources to them … and made the whole process more fun with In-N-Out,” wrote Antonia Hellman ’21 in an email to The Daily.
Hellman organized the event alongside her StanfordVotes co-director, Christina Li ’21. It was co-sponsored by the sophomore class cabinet, the senior class presidents and Stanford Women in Politics.
“We thought co-sponsoring the event would be a great opportunity to help increase civic engagement among the Stanford student body and get more individuals of all viewpoints engaged with an important process,” wrote sophomore class president Brian Chan ’21 in an email to The Daily.
Party at the Post Office marks the latest installment of a campus-wide push for increased voter turnout by StanfordVotes and other political organizations, including Stanford Democrats and Stanford College Republicans.
According to Hellman, fewer than one in five Stanford students participated in the 2014 midterm elections. At the start of October, 1,214 students had registered to vote in the 2018 midterms.
To increase turnout, StanfordVotes is holding weekly voter registration events in White Plaza, including one on Oct. 22, the last day to register to vote in California. On Wednesday, it will also co-sponsor an event at the Women’s Community Center to help students learn more about their local candidates for office.
Looking beyond the 2018 elections, StanfordVotes hopes to “make voting part of students’ everyday lives.” On Friday, it hosted a “Display of Democracy” in White Plaza, during which passersby were invited to add their answers to the prompt “Voting matters to me because…” to a canvas display board.
“We have the power to catalyze political change, but this requires that we’re registered and that we show up to the polls,” Tashrima Hossain ’19 wrote in an email to The Daily.