Student groups encourage voting, host watch parties

Stephanie Haines, Reporter

Northwestern groups are encouraging students to vote until the polls close this Election Day.

Patten Gymnasium and Parkes Hall will serve as the two on-campus polling locations. Election judges from the Cook County Clerk’s Office will be present and facilitating the voting process for students, staff and Evanston residents.

NU Votes coordinator Rebecca Portman said the program has promoted voting via Facebook and Twitter since Friday. Students can encourage others to vote by changing their profile pictures to an image that reads “I voted. NU should too.”

“Our main focus is voter registration, but we do have a get-out-to-vote effort,” the SESP senior said.

NU Votes sent out a campus-wide email Saturday reminding students to check their polling locations and what items to bring to the polls. In addition to the social media campaigns, NU Votes advertised voting by posting fliers around campus.

More than 1,000 students registered to vote through NU Votes, which includes freshman registration during Wildcat Welcome, Portman said. More than 800 students requested absentee ballots.

NU’s voting campaign has attracted attention from national media and other colleges. Portman said she has received requests from Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania and DePaul University about how they can facilitate student voter registration.

NU Votes’ efforts spurred the creation of the UVote Project, which spread student voter registration initiatives to seven other colleges across the country, Portman said.

“Based on the success of NU Votes, UVote was born, realizing there was a lot of information that we could share with other schools,” she said.

The New York Times also published an article featuring how NU Votes has promoted voter registration at other universities.

Although NU Votes will not be present at the polling sites on campus, Portman said representatives will be available for students to contact with any questions.

“I hope we have high voter turnout,” she said. “I want to see students lining up at the polls.”

Other student groups have also been preparing for the election and plan to host watch parties Tuesday.

Adam Roth, co-president of NU College Democrats, said he and about 15 other students and Evanston residents spent the weekend canvassing near Green Bay, Wisc. As a result, the group received tickets to attend the president’s election night rally at McCormick Place in Chicago on Tuesday night. The Weinberg sophomore said NU College Democrats will also host a watch party in Annenberg Hall.

NU College Republicans will attend events for local candidates on Election Day.

Kira Hooks, president of Delta Sigma Theta, said her organization will also host a watch party Tuesday night at the Black House. Hooks said the sorority hosted watch parties for the presidential debates throughout the quarter.

“It’s about facilitating awareness and a reason to gather and stay informed throughout the political season,” the Communication senior said. “Regardless of who is elected, it will have a huge impact on Northwestern.”