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It has become a common question for us to ask students if they’re registered to vote or if they need to update their voter registration. Some students divert eye contact and quickly walk past us. Some have run away from us. Others have asked, “Register for what?”

The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement prioritizes voter registration and voter turnout through our work because your voice matters, and one opportunity to make your voice heard is by voting. Many of the issues being discussed by our political leaders have a direct impact on you as a college student – student debt, employee wages, funding for higher education, and the economy are just some examples. As a college student, you are the most qualified to vote on these issues because they have a direct impact on your lived experiences.

We hear it all the time – college students are the least faithful voters. However, we are starting to see an increase in political engagement over recent years. According to a study published last week by Tufts University, college students across the United States more than doubled their rate of voting between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections. At ECU specifically, our voting rate increased by 13.1% from 2014 to 2018. Millennials and Gen Z will be the largest share of eligible voters in 2020, and you can help us continue to change these historical trends for the better by engaging in the democratic process.

How you choose to use your voice matters not only for your current self but for your future self, as well. Many of you will be graduating, moving, or getting new jobs within the next four years. Think about what will be important to your future self. By voting now, you are setting a foundation for your future.

Just as you brush your teeth in the morning or drive to school and work, voting should be a habit. If you create the habit of voting in each election, you are more likely to vote in the next one and the ones after that. Voting is a habit.

Start the habit now by voting in the next municipal election. Municipal elections have a direct impact on your home community and our local community. Often, the local offices that are on the ballot are decided by a matter of a few votes. The Pitt County Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. One-Stop Early Voting for the Pitt County Municipal Election will be available in the Main Campus Student Center, Room 125 on October 28-November 1, 2019 from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. This means that you will not have to travel far to cast your vote.

The North Carolina voter registration deadline is October 11, 2019. If you need to register to vote or want to check your voter registration status, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement can assist. Stop by the Main Campus Student Center suite 208 or visit our website and navigate to our VoteEverywhere Portal.

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