Montclair State Senate Discusses Efforts to Boost Student Voter Participation for Upcoming Election

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Published October 30, 2021
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The Montclarion
A crowd in Weequahic Park in Newark, New Jersey, during a rally for Gov. Phil Murphy. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Mariel Pagan, who oversees the Montclair State Votes Coalition and is the director of the Center for Student Involvement, gave an update on efforts to get students to vote at the Oct. 20 Senate meeting.

“Now that the New Jersey voter registration deadline has passed, our next priority is to focus on students taking a pledge to vote,” Pagan said.

The pledge is part of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, where campuses around the country take part in increasing student voter participation. According to the ALL IN to Vote website, which is updated weekly, Montclair State University is currently No. 1 with 475 pledges.

The Oct. 20 Senate meeting featured an update on efforts to encourage student voting at Montclair State. Cristal Santos | The Montclarion

The Oct. 20 Senate meeting featured an update on efforts to encourage student voting at Montclair State.
Cristal Santos | The Montclarion

“When students take the pledge to vote, they will receive a reminder about elections,” Pagan said.

Montclair State is also competing in the New Jersey Ballot Bowl, a statewide competition to get students to register to vote. The New Jersey Ballot Bowl partnered with the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge this year and will not only be counting voter registrations but also pledges.

Pagan also said they are helping the state to recruit poll workers. Poll workers can work in any county in the state, not just the one in which they are registered to vote in.

Currently, poll workers are in high demand for early voting and Election Day, which is Nov. 2. Poll workers make an hourly rate of $21.44 on in-person early voting days and $300 on Election Day. They can also earn an additional $30 for attending a required training provided by the County Board of Elections. Anyone who wants to apply must be an American citizen and at least 16 years old.

New Jersey will be electing a governor, 120 state legislators and hundreds of county and local leaders depending on the district. This year with early voting, voters can choose the most convenient time to cast their vote at any county designated for in-person early voting, regardless of where they live in the county. You can find your early voting location on the New Jersey Voter Information Portal.

Hours for early voting will be Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Sailor Marfiewicz does not plan on voting in this election. Cristal Santos | The Montclarion

Sailor Marfiewicz does not plan on voting in this election.
Cristal Santos | The Montclarion

Sailor Marfiewicz, a junior visual arts major, says she’s registered to vote but does not plan on voting in this election.

“I just didn’t really think about it,” Marfiewicz said. “Not that I’m not interested in politics, [but] I just don’t get into it as much as I probably should or know a lot about it.”

Grace McCarthy, a junior business administration major, said she had received her ballot but was not planning to vote. After learning that the governor’s race was one of the major races in this election, she changed her mind and said she now wants to vote.

“I personally feel like maybe we need a switch-up in the governor,” McCarthy said. “I feel like [Gov. Phil Murphy] hasn’t handled [COVID-19] very well.”

Grace McCarthy plans to vote for a new governor. Cristal Santos | The Montclarion

Grace McCarthy plans to vote for a new governor.
Cristal Santos | The Montclarion

For more information, visit Montclair State’s Civic and Voter Engagement website.

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