Students ‘Party at the Polls’ in Machuga Heights

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Published November 6, 2019
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The Montclarion
Senior political science major Emily Falcioni (left), and junior accounting major Jehan Abayhan (right), with Rocky outside of the Machuga Heights polling station. Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

The Office of Civic and Voter Engagement hosted a “Party at the Polls” event in Machuga Heights on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to help Montclair State University students register to vote. Students who already registered were able to vote for the local elections, including county sheriff, General Assembly and other municipalities.

To promote voting, the event coordinators handed out flyers, flags, “I voted” stickers and free snacks for students.

James Clark, a graduate student in the Educational Leadership program and the graduate coordinator of Voter Engagement, summarized the event.

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Mariel Pagan (center), director of the Center for Student Involvement, with Rocky the Red Hawk and volunteers at the Machuga Heights polling station.
Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

“We want to create an environment that promotes civic participation, so when students are walking by the food, we want them to say, ‘Wow, I want to get some food,’ and that gives us an opportunity to talk to them,” Clark said. “It makes voting a little more fun and engaging in a way, where generally voting is seen as something my parents do, or something older people do.”

It can be confusing when resident students vote at Montclair State, as the university sits on three different towns (Montclair, Little Falls and Clifton) and two different counties (Essex and Passaic). This puts students in two different state Legislative Districts, but only one congressional district.

“It’s a pretty unique position,” Clark explains, “we have to talk to [students] a lot and say, ‘Where do you live now, where will you live, do you have a plan?’ We have pamphlets, booklets, social media posts, all letting people know if you live in these buildings, you need to vote here.”

Students are allowed to fill out an absentee ballot before an election and mail in their vote. Typically in New Jersey, voters must register to vote at least 21 days before an election and the ballot must be mailed in at least seven days before Election Day.

For more information on where to go for the Primary Elections in June, visit the Civic and Voter Engagement Hawksync, where you can vote if you live on campus. Students can also register to vote at the Office of Civic and Voter Engagement at the Student Center, room 104.

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