Hundreds of Livingstone students register to vote

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
A group of Livingstone College volunteers registered hundreds of students Monday evening as part of the national Rock the Vote movement.
Shantel Isidore, a native of Boston, Mass., and a sophomore at Livingstone, launched the effort as part of the college’s graduation requirement of 80 hours of community service.
Working with Rock the Vote Democracy of N.C., Isidore recruited other students and some college staff members, including Terri Stevenson, who works in student activities.
Isidore said what prompted her to organize the registration drive was watching CNN’s Larry King one night when the topic of his talk show was the right to vote and the importance of voting.
And that message fits well with the mission of Dr. Jimmy Jenkins Sr. to see to it that all Livingstone freshmen register and vote.
Originally scheduled for a spring lawn setting, the weather forced the event indoors, where a DJ from 102 Jamz in Greensboro provided hip-hop music.
An hour into the drive, organizers estimated that they had registered nearly 200 students.
By the end of the event, they registered 239.
The goal is to register all Livingstone students.
Students not only get credit for the registration drive, but voting also counts as community service.
While students worked to register voters, staffers manned three separate tables providing information on the presidential candidates.
“I’ll be able to vote till I die,” said Justin Brunson, a senior New York native and a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. “Voting is our future.”
Carol Sims, a freshman from Winston-Salem, is looking forward to voting in her first presidential race. And she was delighted to see all the other students registering. “Most of us are in the age gap,” Sims said, referring to those between 18 and 24 who are most likely not to register or vote.
Rock the Vote, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization, was founded in 1990. The aim is to mobilize young people to create positive social and political change in their lives and communities.
Brandon Moore, a senior from Baltimore, Md., is interested in the presidential race and plans to check out the local candidates so he can make an informed decision.
“Voting affects everyone. It spans all racial and ethnic backgrounds,” Moore said. He suggested the focus on the war on terrorism has distracted people from the needs of their communities.
Monday’s event launched a voting drive that will climax April 24, when students will walk together or shuttle to the Board of Elections Office for one-stop voting.
Organizers hope to find businesses that will sponsor vans or buses or churches that will provide buses to transport the students.
Any business or church interested in helping provide transportation is asked to call Terri Stevenson at 704-216-6272.
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Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette @salisburypost.com.

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