A&T and Bennett students march to the pollsBy Yasmine Regester / October 6, 2017
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Keeping alive a rich tradition, N.C. A&T State University and Bennett College students marched downtown to the Guilford County Courthouse for early voting on Tuesday, October 3.
“Considering the state our country is in, it is critical that we turn out for our local elections,” said Kayla Tate, an A&T senior political science major, march organizer and Student Government Association President. “That’s where decisions will directly impact us. There are some candidates that definitely have our best interests at heart.”
The march was also to provide students with information on how to register to vote and where to vote. A&T’s campus was split into two congressional districts or gerrymandered, when the districts were redrawn in 2016. It puts part of the campus in District 6 and another in District 13.
“It can be confusing for some when it’s time to vote. And you only get one time to cast your ballot, so being able to gather as many students together at one time to vote is important,” said Tate.
Political science major Braxton Brewington noted that it is important to show that students of color can be civically engaged.
“As a university with the largest population of young Black eligible voters, we have the power to hand pick which candidates we want representing us. We have a responsibility to lead for other HBCUs,” said Brewington.
A recent study by Tufts University titled National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement found that college women voted at higher rates that their male peers. Conducted by Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, the report stated that 51 percent of women on college campuses voted in 2016, up from 48 percent in the election before. According to the study, female students were 1.3 times more likely to vote than men.
The Bennett College Belles have taken their mission to be engaged very seriously, dubbing themselves ‘Voting Belles.’
“This is important,” said Bennett College march organizer, Azuree Bateman, a senior journalism & media studies major. “We live in a time where people, and sometimes ourselves, don’t understand the power we have as Black women. We wanted to show strong Black women coming together to vote.”
Early voting for the primaries is September 21 – October 7. Primary Election day is October 10. General Election day is November 7.