Students’ votes count

Student government is preparing to make YSU a voter friendly campus. Photo by Nicholas Bianco / Jambar Contributor

By Nicholas Bianco
Jambar Contributor

2024 is a big year for politicians and voters alike, as Americans are preparing to elect a president. Mahoning County election officials are encouraging Youngstown State University students to vote. 

Thomas McCabe, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, said some college students don’t realize the importance of voting at their age. 

“It’s just not Mahoning County, it’s not just Youngstown State,” McCabe said. “It’s just really tough to have voters — these young voters — come out and participate in the system.”

McCabe said it may be difficult for students who commute to campus to vote on Election Day. 

“The polling location for that student sometimes isn’t convenient for the student either,” McCabe said. 

Recently, more young adults are registering to vote in elections. According to Ohio Capital Journal, more than 48,600 18-year-olds were registered to vote in Ohio as of Jan. 6 — a 35% increase since August 2023. 

Residents can vote early at the Mahoning Valley Board of Elections. Photo by Nicolas Bianco / Jambar Contributor

Jordan Pintar, president of YSU’s Student Government Association, said SGA wants to make YSU a voter-friendly campus, an initiative with Campus Vote Project. 

According to its website, Campus Vote Project works with universities to reduce barriers to voting and empower students with the information they need to vote. It has named 262 colleges voter friendly.

Pintar said SGA will be working with Campus Vote Project for ideas to get students involved with voting.

“I’m able to also work with another one of our [SGA] representatives who has a fellowship with Campus Vote,” Pintar said. “It’s just the two of us working on it right now, making sure everything’s set up.”

SGA has been working to get students registered to vote in upcoming elections. 

“We were able to put up tabling events with laptops for a bunch of different states, where students can either change their address or register or reregister to vote,” Pintar said. “Before, when we were doing just paper registration, we were only able to register people from Ohio … but now we’re able to register people from other states who are still going back to those states to vote.”

Pintar said SGA has also put on events to educate students about government and voting, such as hosting trivia and giving out prizes to winners.

“What we have been doing this past year, just to kind of prep ourselves for what this would actually look like, is putting on events that have been engaging students around campus,” Pintar said. 

In November, SGA hosted a voter discussion panel with students, community members, Youngstown City Council members and Mayor Tito Brown. Attendees listened to panelists talk about their roles in the community and could ask questions about voting. 

Pintar said any student can be involved in making YSU a voter-friendly campus. 

“Feel free to reach out,” Pintar said. “We’ve worked with getting non-partisan organizations to help us, and we’re doing different things, like the Constitution Day event.” 

The university annually celebrates the September holiday, which remembers the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

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