Voters grow in DeKalb County

By Sara Blankenheim

DeKalb has 317 new voters, and the process was anything but easy.

Eric Johnson, the Student Association’s director of governmental affairs, led a month-long coalition to register new voters, mostly students, in the city of DeKalb.

Anyone that wanted to register voters had to become a deputy registrar.

Johnson contacted DeKalb County Clerk Sharon Holmes to begin the process of becoming a deputy registrar.

“They were kind enough to actually come down to the SA instead of the courthouse,” he said.

The future registrars had to attend a 15-minute class that discussed the procedures involved in registering voters.

Johnson then looked for support from the Residence Hall Association and their hall councils to register voters.

“Without them and their help, this wouldn’t have been as big of a success as it was,” he said.

However, the first couple weeks of registering voters, which concluded two weeks ago, had not gone as well as planned.

“It started out a little slow,” Johnson said.

The pace began to pick up toward the end of registration.

“I would say half [of the voters] came in the last week,” Johnson said. “We really blitzed the hall councils that week.”

The amount of voters registered can make a difference in any election.

“Students really can make the difference in local elections,” Johnson said. “Four years ago, First Ward Alderman Andy Small won his election by 12 votes.”

The amount of students registered serves as a reinforcement to the importance of campaigning to students.

“This renews belief that candidates have to listen to student input,” Johnson said.

Johnson accredits a lot of the success to careful planning, and help received from fellow SA members.

Mike Evans, SA director of Greek Affairs and a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity member, took Johnson’s advice.

“I was glad to see the Greeks getting involved in the registration process,” Evans said.

Some students didn’t vote because they are registered elsewhere.

“I didn’t register in DeKalb,” said sophomore marketing major Jacqueline Hoyt. “I vote at home and that’s really the only reason I didn’t register here.”

The 317 registered voters did not include students that asked for absentee votes.

“It’s good to see there are students who care about elections,” Johnson said. “It’s a very positive thing.”