Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Registration begins

With the 2013 election for Virginia state governor quickly approaching, Liberty University students and faculty are filling out registration forms and preparing to vote in early November.

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The 2013 ballot will have three main candidates running for Virginia governor: Democrat Terry McAuliffe, businessman of Fairfax County and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, attorney general of Virginia, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis, a lawyer and small businessman.

“The nation’s attention will be focused on the Virginia gubernatorial election in 2013 because it is the only hotly contested race of the season,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said Monday. “Millions of dollars of out of state money is being poured into the campaign. It is a golden opportunity for Liberty students to make their votes count. I encourage every Liberty student to register to vote in the next few weeks. And it is not only the governor’s race that is at stake. The number of students who register and vote locally greatly impacts how City Council votes on many issues that directly impact Liberty and its students.”

Campaigns and voting advertisements can be seen throughout Lynchburg and near Liberty’s campus with several unofficial clubs as well. Ian McConell is a senior in the Helms School of Government and the vice chairman of the College Republicans of Liberty.

McConell started to develop an interest for politics in high school and was also involved with the College Republicans of Liberty during the Romney campaign.

“It’s something that I love … it is very important to get your voice heard not only for the nation, but also for your Christian values as well,” McConell said when asked how and why he got involved with politics.

The College Republicans of Liberty is an unofficial club on campus that promotes republican candidates and works with the community to get the voice of the students heard.

College Republicans of Liberty is a branch off of the College Republican National Committee, which helps students and adults to gain experience and become future leaders in the nation.

Youth for Cuccinelli was recently developed as another unofficial club on campus to support the Republican candidate for this upcoming election.

During the presidential election in 2012, Falwell said the objective is not to put Republicans over Democrats, but instead to have students participate. Liberty as an institution is not concerned about the party affiliation, although many support the Republican party personally.

“Students need to vote to have their voice heard … to be able to say, ‘At least I’ve tried,’” McConnell said when asked why he thinks students need to vote. “One vote may not make a difference, but 500 people will.”

Student voting has been important since the university’s founding in 1971. Until 2012, students who were interested in voting had to travel to Heritage High School to cast their ballot. In recent years, Liberty asked the city of Lynchburg to allow voting on campus to make it easier for students to get to the polls. Students now have the privilege of being able to vote on campus in the Vines Center across from DeMoss Hall. Student voting and involvement in politics in Lynchburg and in the state makes a difference as the city council decides whether to approve the construction of many infrastructures on and off campus.

Residential students can vote in the Vines Center Nov. 5 from 6 a.m.-7 p.m.

According to the Virginia State Board of Elections, Virginia law requires all voters to provide an acceptable form of identification at the polls. Anything from a Virginia voter registration card, valid Virginia driver’s license, military I.D., concealed handgun permit to a valid student I.D. issued by any institution of higher education is suitable for identification.

Voting registration ends Oct. 15, and polls open Tuesday, Nov. 5 to vote for the new governor of Virginia.

For more information on identification and voting, visit the State Board of elections at sbe.virginia.gov/votinginperson

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