Through the efforts of students in East Central University’s Department of Political Science and Legal Studies, 533 new voters were registered as ECU took first place in the White Division (institutions of 3,001 to 7,000 full-time enrollment) of the Oklahoma Campus Compact Voter Registration Contest.
ECU registered 12.2 percent of its fulltime students during the registration drive which took place at a booth set up in front of the Horace Mann Building, Oct. 3-7. Northern Oklahoma College was second in the division at 6.3 percent.
It was the third straight time in which ECU captured the award.
Two ECU students – Vanessa Hilton, of Tulsa, and Ryan Smith, of Byng – were heavily involved in the registration process.
“I feel it’s important (to register to vote). We’re a new generation and we’re the ones who are going to take over,” said Vanessa Hilton, a freshman medical physics major. “We need to be informed and know what’s going on in government. That’s what democracy is all about.”
Hilton says she spent much of her time in the voter registration booth on campus, but also walked around campus with a clipboard, encouraging students to register.
Individually, Smith registered a whopping 30 voters, many of which were his Byng High School classmates, who are also attending ECU. He even managed to register some family members and acquaintances.
“The first step is that a lot of people didn’t know how to register and we were able to help with that,” said Smith, a freshman biology major.
Twenty-three institution members of Oklahoma Campus Compact participated by registering 3,622 in-state and 136 out-of-state students to vote during the contest.
Eastern Oklahoma State College won the Red Division (institutions with 1 to 3,000 enrollment) at 12.2 percent and the University of Central Oklahoma won the Blue Division (institutions with 7,001 to 30,000 enrollment) at 3.8 percent.