Campus’s First-Ever Early Voting Polling Place to Open This Week

New group UChi Votes seeks to increase campus voter registration to 70 percent, up from 58 percent in the 2014 midterms.

By William Trlak

Campus-wide voting advocacy group UChi Votes will be hosting the first ever on-campus early voting polling place for the upcoming midterm elections at Reynolds Club from Wednesday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The midterm elections come at a time when the University is seeing historically unprecedented amounts of students registering to vote. As of Tuesday, UChicago has registered the third-highest number of undergraduates in the country on registration website TurboVote since September 1, trailing behind University of Maryland and University of Michigan.

UChicago also has the highest percentage of undergraduates in the country registered on TurboVote, just ahead of Harvard University.

The November 6 midterm elections come at a time when Republicans seek to maintain their congressional stronghold, while Democrats are pushing to turn Congress majority-blue for the first time since 2011.

Groups such as Ballroom Dance Association and Groove Theory will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Bartlett Quad as part of the early voting programming.

The Institute of Politics (IOP) founded UChi Votes this school year with the goal of increasing voter registration on campus from 58 percent in the 2014 midterm elections to 70 percent, and increase midterm voter turnout from 19 percent to 40 percent. Although the University’s turnout rate in 2014 surpassed the national university turnout rate, the turnout rate also shows that only one-third of the University’s registered voters actually voted in 2014.

This event is one of several UChi Votes initiatives to increase voter turnout. The group has held a voting pledge competition for houses and other on-campus groups and also registered voters at the IOP’s “Politipalooza” during O-Week. Its website has resources for registering to vote, finding a polling place, and learning more about the candidates on individual students’ ballot.