Barry McNamara  |   Published November 01, 2018

Getting Out the Vote

Campus community holds voter-registration drives, education events to encourage residents to vote on Nov. 6.
  • A Monmouth student registers to vote during a campus event run by the American Association of University Women.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College is doing its best to ensure that the 2018 general election on Nov. 6 is a participatory process.

From on-campus voter registration efforts and non-partisan political discussion sessions, to general voter assistance and transporting voters to the polls, several members of the campus community are taking an active role in driving voter turnout.

Some activities started earlier in the semester, when the College partnered with the local branch of the American Association of University Women to help students register to vote.

Monmouth Assistant Director of Leadership Development and Service Jake McLean is among the people offering assistance to the 18- to 22-year-old demographic.

“When we first mentioned the idea of taking students to the polls, a number of faculty reached out to inquire about how they could help,” said McLean. “People are usually talking about how students this age aren’t likely to show up at the polls, but I think this will serve as an opportunity for our students take a break from the day and show our community that they do in fact care about getting out to vote.”

From 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 6, a shuttle will leave the College’s Center for Science and Business every half-hour, taking students who are registered to vote in Warren County to the local polling place.

In addition to the free ride, McLean said general assistance will also be offered.

“I can remember not knowing where to go, what to do when I arrived, or even how to submit my ballot,” said McLean, who graduated from Monmouth in 2015. “It’s my hope that as our students are getting out to vote, they see a friendly face on their way to do their duty.”

Thanks to the efforts of several faculty members, a free shuttle ride will be offered to community members who live in Warren County voting precincts 7, 8 and 10. From 4-7 p.m. on Election Day, the shuttle will pick up voters at the Jamieson Community Center and the Warren County History Museum. The last pick-up will be at 6:30 p.m.

Educated voters

Among the Monmouth students planning to vote on Nov. 6 are Courtney Fisher ’22 of Monmouth and Kaitlyn Rule ’19 of Geneseo, Ill.

“I believe it is my civic responsibility to vote,” said Rule. “I become informed on candidates and their policies and use that to make the best decision that I can. There are many unable to vote, and my decisions may impact their entire lives, which means this is a decision that I cannot take lightly.”

Fisher said: “Having the opportunity to vote means to me that I have an actual say in how the government is run. Even if the person I voted for doesn’t win, I gave my opinion on who I believe was best fit to be a part of the government. Some people don’t have the right to vote, so I feel that I need to use my vote since those people can’t.”

Educating voters

On the Tuesday prior to Election Day, the College hosted an information session on state and local races while also providing voter tips.

“We discussed what’s on the ballot, the candidates who are running, and the issues at stake in the election,” said Monmouth political science professor Andre Audette. “We also had sample ballots available for Warren County.”

“People are usually talking about how students this age aren’t likely to show up at the polls, but I think this will serve as an opportunity for our students take a break from the day and show our community that they do in fact care about getting out to vote.”
Jake McLean, Assistant Director of Leadership Development and Service 

Students Joe Doner ’21 of Arlington Heights, Ill., and Emma Hildebrand ’20 of Mendon, Ill., who host a non-partisan political discussion group on campus, broke down the major races in the state from the Democrat and Republican perspectives, respectively, for an audience of about 30 students, faculty and staff.

During her portion of the program, faculty member Lori Walters-Kramer shared that citizens can register to vote up to and including on Election Day.

Audette shared a link for individuals interested in checking their registration status, their polling place and how to vote early. The site – – also has district information for the state of Illinois.

Speaking of those districts, Hildebrand said the 2018 election is especially important in Illinois.

“One of the big issues is that there will be a census in 2020, and the governor that’s elected Tuesday will be in control of redistricting,” she said.

Among the issues in the Illinois gubernatorial race, said Hildebrand and Doner, are access to health care, funding education, property taxes and whether or not to legalize marijuana.

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