University of Charleston

UC Students Participating in the 2020 Vote


September 22 is National Voter Registration Day, and UC celebrated with a campus event to help students register to vote. From 10 am – 3 pm, students could register to vote either in person or absentee, take the voting pledge, and enjoy music, balloons and free stickers.

“The University of Charleston (UC) has long committed to sustained and energetic civic engagement through such efforts as get out the vote campaigns, voter registration drives, and community involvement,” explained Hallie Chillag, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at UC. “Executing this commitment in the pandemic has presented new challenges and UC is proud to report that we have been able to activate a robust response, actualizing a variety of events in this unique election season.”

In addition to today’s activities, UC Athletic Director Bren Stevens has developed the Empowering Eagles Initiative to get every student-athlete registered to vote by November 3. To date, there have been 57 new voters registered among the UC student-athlete population.

Labor Day at UC is dedicated to service activities across the community and endeavors to involve every full-time, undergraduate student. This year, the university staffed a four-day registration and absentee ballot initiative on  campus.  This effort is ongoing and UC political science faculty are helping students figure out where they are registered and how they can vote remotely this November from campus.

Student groups are coordinating locally with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to ensure that their peers are well apprised of their voting rights. Students will be engaging in virtual town halls on this subject between now and election day. Special consideration is given to marginalized voting groups including transgender communities, immigrant populations, formerly incarcerated citizens, and others.

UC has also been involved with the ALL IN Democracy Challenge and the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement through Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education since 2016. This research initiative examined data about voter participation and engagement at UC from 2014 to the 2018 midterm elections. Engagement at the university increased during this time and UC received a bronze seal recognition in response to institutional efforts to increase engagement and full voter participation.

“As an educational institution, UC recognizes that the promotion of voting as a civic responsibility is congruent with its Mission,” continued Chillag.  “We are reflective, in this the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage, that these rights are hard fought and precious.  We hope that our university community, supported by our work and their dedication, will live active, engaged lives both by voting themselves and by democratizing access for civic engagement for others.  Golden Eagles vote!”