Student Voice: Gianni Marcel

All-Time High Voter Turnout

To the editor of The New Paltz Oracle,

Voter turnout at SUNY New Paltz for this year’s presidential election reached an all-time high. As the Voter Mobilization Project Leader for NYPIRG, I spent the first portion of the fall semester registering students to vote because the right to vote was one faithfully fought for and it is one that needs to be exercised. I especially feel the need to help young voters, because they have been historically disenfranchised from exercising this right through attempted measures such as residency and voter identification laws.

I spent weeks doing educational tabling, conducting class presentations and having one-on-one conversations with students on the significance of voting. This effort was not in vain as the voter registration numbers and voter turnout were both impressive here on campus. Nearly 2,000 students from the residence halls registered to vote on campus this year, approximately 1,200 of them this fall alone. According to the Ulster County Board of Elections, nearly 1,400 students voted in this district on Nov. 8. This does not include the several thousand off-campus students that actively registered and voted in the election.  To put this into perspective, about 750 students voted in the 2012 election in this district. If anyone recalls, people waited in that line until 1 a.m., and anyone was allowed to vote anywhere.

Voting was made much more accessible on campus this semester because of the work of dedicated students like myself, lobbying the Ulster County Board of Elections Commissioner, advocating for an extra voting machine, more poll workers and more dividers. In addition to registering students to vote and making sure they know when and where to vote, it is essential that we protect our voting rights in these areas.

This speaks volumes to the way students are concerned in who it will be that represents them both nationally and locally. Educating students on who the policymakers on the macro/micro level should continue to be a practice for the years to come because these individuals are the ones that will possibly bring light to the issues that matter to students the most. Nationally, only about 50 percent of registered 18-29-year-olds showed up to the polls on Election Day, but here at SUNY New Paltz we came out in strong numbers and represented the vote.

Gianni Marcel


SUNY New Paltz