AGF ambassadors gear up for National Voter Registration Day


Andrew Goodman Foundation fellows tabling in Kent. Photo submitted by Will Keck

by Abby Ludwig, Social Media Editor

With National Voter Registration Day coming up on Sept. 20th, ambassadors of the Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) have been planning out how to get students registered to vote.

AGF ambassador William Keck explained AGF’s efforts to sign students up.

“We are currently going to every Foundations class and giving a presentation on civic engagement and registering them to vote. We also provided a paper to all students on move-in day with information on how to register or change your address if you have moved.”

Keck went on to say: “We are putting on an event with the Iowa Secretary of State on Sept. 19th in Kent to get students ready to vote”.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate will be speaking at Simpson College on Sept. 19th at 5:30 p.m. Pate will be discussing being voter-ready and urging people to get registered or update their information. With the voter registration deadline being Oct. 24th and the general election approaching on Nov. 8th, this is a suitable time for eligible Iowans to register.

Kylie Banouvong, a junior at Simpson and also an ambassador for AGF, said students should expect to see the AGF team on Sept.20th out and about on campus near Kent and Dunn Library.

“We will have forms ready and can answer any questions students have about voting,” Banouvong said.

“The steps are pretty easy to register to vote in Iowa,” Keck said.

“You can fill out a paper form and drop it off at the Warren County Auditor’s office, right across the street from Carver, or you can register online through the TurboVote website on SC Connect.”

For out-of-state students, Banouvong explained the best course of action.

“Out-of-state students can choose whether or not they would like to register here on campus or back home. If they decide to register in Iowa, they can fill out a voter registration form using their campus address.”

Out-of-state students wanting to vote in their home state can also use the TurboVote website. 

“If you decide you want to register and vote in your home state, the easiest way is for you to go to the TurboVote link in SC Connect and it will guide you to your state’s information and get you registered.”

Director of Culver Public Policy Center, Seth Andersen, explained why it’s important for students to vote.

“College students can have a major impact on elections and policies by voting. Millennials and Gen Z now make up the largest voting bloc in the U.S., with even more members than the Baby Boom generation,” Andersen said.

Andersen went on to say young people are voting at a higher rate than ever before. 

“75 percent of Simpson students cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election. Politicians pay more attention to the views of groups that vote in higher numbers. With more young people voting, politicians are paying more attention to issues that matter to Gen Z and Millennial voters,” Andersen said.

The 75 percent from 2020 that Andersen referred to was a +14.7 change from 2016, according to the 2020 NSLVE Campus Report for Student Voting Rates at Simpson College.

Simpson’s student body is known for having a strong voting power. Washington Monthly’s Best College Guide named Simpson one of America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting in 2021. Simpson was also announced as a winner in the 2018 Iowa Voting Challenge from the Iowa Campus Compact and Civic Nation, with an 87.4 percent voter registration rate being the highest in the state.

“Student voices and concerns are just as big as middle-aged and retirees. Every vote counts and voting makes our system more representational. Voting is our one way to express our views and what we think the government should be or do,” Keck said.

“Iowa’s elections are always close, and we are in a congressional district where the incumbent won by six votes in 2020,” Keck went on to say. “Every vote matters and if six more students voted in the last election, the outcome could’ve been different. Indianola is also such a small community, the college population has a big sway in local politics and in state races.”

The AGF ambassadors want to make it known that the Andrew Goodman Foundation team does not care who you vote for.

“We just want to make sure your voice is heard and you have the resources and ability to vote. I, along with the entire AGF team, am here to help you vote so please use us if you have questions,” Keck said.