Groups around city stress that voting matters

The act of voting has found itself in the news this fall, a result of court decisions activating and then deactivating the state’s Voter ID law. And though the law will not be in effect for this fall’s election, many organizations will be doing all they can to encourage possible to get to the polls on Nov. 4.

The message they share is that voting matters.

UW Madison’s student government, The Associated Students of Madison, is a prime example of this effort.

ASM has been registering voters across campus and also plans on instilling a voter education campaign. This will include informing students on topics such as where they can vote and what will be on the ballots that they will fill out at the polls.

When the Voter ID law was in place, ASM was part of an effort to provide law-compliant identification to students.

Furthermore, ASM hopes to make this project as far reaching as possible.

“Our mission is to make sure that all students vote,” said ASM chair Geneveive Carter.

The League of Women Voters has shown similar tenacity in their efforts to encourage people to vote. This organization is a bipartisan group born out of a convention of the National American Women Suffrage Association in 1920. It utilizes tools, such as education, to encourage people to actively engage with their government.

For the upcoming election, the League has used its educational orientation to inform people about various resources that will help them vote. This includes providing information on early voting and free sources of transportation for voting day.

Though it was born out of the women’s suffrage movement, the League emphasizes that its efforts now focus on increasing voter turnout.

“Our services are for anyone,” said Ingrid Roth, the co-president of the League of Women Voters of Dane County. “This isn’t specifically for women.”

The Urban League of Greater Madison echoed this sentiment.

“First and foremost, we want people to vote,” said Edward Lee, the Interim President and CEO. “We want 100 percent participation in the democratic process.”

Though the Urban League often focuses on educating and helping the African American community, it also recognizes how this can help society at large.

“When poor people of color succeed, everyone succeeds,” Lee said.

This success most likely cannot occur with only one election, however. Roth of the League of Women Voters explained the cyclical process.

“We are going to start again right after this election is over,” Roth said. “We are getting ready for the next registration period.”