Liberty University now has 10,500 students who are eligible to vote.
If they register locally, those numbers could make a big difference this November, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said at Wednesday’s convocation in the Vines Center.
“Wouldn’t it be something if Liberty votes were enough to change which presidential candidate won Virginia and maybe even the presidency itself?” he said.
Falwell announced a university-wide voter registration campaign to encourage students to register to vote in the Lynchburg area before the Oct. 6 deadline.
Falwell said besides it being more convenient for students, voting in Lynchburg as a group will have a “much bigger impact than if your votes are just scattered across many different jurisdictions.”
It will also give them “a greater voice on issues that impact your pocketbook,” he said. “Local elections directly affect the amount of tuition you pay here at Liberty more than you realize.”
He recalled the zoning obstacles Liberty faced in its earlier years.
“The fact remains that if the wrong people end up in power, here in Lynchburg, they could take advantage of Liberty, place onerous requirements on us and force the cost of schooling to go through the roof,” he said.
Falwell said about 20 out of the 26 college towns in Virginia allow college students to register locally, including Lynchburg.
He cited the Higher Education Act of 1998 that requires all colleges and universities to make a good faith effort to provide voter registration forms to all students.
Voter registration forms will be distributed to on-campus students at hall meetings on Tuesday, and professors will hand out forms to commuters.
To loud applause, Falwell announced classes will be canceled on Election Day. Buses will available to transport students to the polls. An all-day concert will be held in the Vines Center and, in the evening, it will become an election party, with returns broadcast on the big screens.
Falwell’s announcements were part of a “civic responsibility convocation,” as he called it, featuring guest speaker Don Corace, author of “Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights and How We Can Fight It.” Corace has appeared on radio’s Hannity & Colmes, The Neal Boortz Show, and other media venues and has testified before Congress on property rights issues. He spoke on fighting eminent domain laws that benefit private developers and assault private property rights.