By Daja Henry, Contributing Writer
On Tuesday, September 22, National Voter Registration Day took place at Howard University. The purpose of the event was to get Howard students registered to vote for the upcoming presidential election in 2016 and to get them to realize the impact their votes can have. The event was organized by the Howard University College of Arts and Sciences Transcend Council. Multiple other organizations, such as Howard Democrats and the Howard University Texas Club who partnered with Rock the Vote, as well as staff from some of the student dorms, were registering students at tables across Howard’s campus.
During the event, students seemed less than interested in registering to vote. Howard students could be seen walking past the tables, avoiding eye contact, and questioning the point of registering. While the organizations noticed that students weren’t really interested in voting, some people tried to be enthusiastic about the voting process to get more students to register.
Gavin Reagins, senior, legal communications major and president of Howard University’s Mock Trial team, was one of the people who was trying to get students more excited about registering. “It is important to vote for who represents you and to give yourself a voice,” said Reagins. “If you think your vote doesn’t matter, you’re just adding to the multitude of people who think the same. When you don’t vote, you give the power to a small group of people.”
During the last presidential election in 2012, 73.1 percent of African-Americans were registered to vote, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 66.2 percent of those who were registered actually voted.
During that election, college age students or African-Americans 18 to 24 years were the lowest demographic to vote among African-Americans. Therefore, it was very important to get black college students registered to vote.
Brandyn Brown, a freshman, economics major, gave his opinion as to why Howard students should vote. “Voting is very important. It gives us a voice,” said Brown. “People fought and died for our right to vote. You can’t complain about what’s happening, if you aren’t doing anything to change it.”
Howard Democrats managed to register 92 people throughout the day. The organizations that were present during the National Voter Registration Day realized the importance of African-American students voting and will continue to register as many as they can to vote in the next presidential election.