DePaul’s Voter Registration Geniuses help students prepare for the 2022 midterm election.
The 2022 midterm election is approaching on November 8 and the DePaul Voter Hub has provided students with nonpartisan information on registering and voting. The Vote DePaul website intends to boost DePaul students’ participation in our democratic process.
Along with the voter hub, DePaul faculty members Nina Diamond, Marie Donovan and Summer Brown have appointed three students as Voter Registration Geniuses (VRGs). The team of students raise awareness on the importance of voting and educate their peers on the impact they have.
Giorgia Fiorani, Hannah Waters and Jesus Ocampo are this year’s VRGs and have successfully guided 402 students to register to vote for the upcoming midterm election.
Although these students lend a hand during the voting process, that doesn’t allow them to start political debates. A crucial aspect of their training was acknowledging that their program is nonpartisan and being cognizant of not sharing their own beliefs.
Waters explains that being a VRG is an information source for students about the voter registration process. They aim to make the voting process easy for their peers, especially for out-of-state students, and instill confidence in young voters.
“What that entailed was just familiarizing oneself, one, with the voting process and then, two, with certain states’ voting regulations and rules. Just knowing deadlines and just being familiar with the different platforms that states use for the registration process,” said Waters.
While Ocampo and Fiorani were teaching students an effective way to register, they also took on the roles of managing research and outreach. Ocampo stayed in contact with students raising questions on mail-in ballots and deadlines in varying states. Fiorani ran the Vote DePaul account and posted reminders of events and encouragement to vote.
Although most of the promotion for Vote DePaul was held online, the recruitment was a mix of in-person and electronic outreach. One option was a Google Form on the Vote DePaul website that connected potential voters to one of the VRGs. A Zoom meeting was held after the request and the voting process would take off after that.
Fiorani found tabling to be the best tactic for registering students on the spot, since it generally took under 10 minutes. An event held on September 20 for National Voter Registration Day helped gather people who were ready to register.
“Our training focused a lot on how to approach people while tabling, how to reach out and be the most helpful we can be,” said Fiorani.
Their goal is to navigate people effectively through important last steps like confirming registration, mailing in the ballot or sending reminders to keep up with the election.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2020 the voter turnout was the lowest at 51.4% among ages 18 to 24. The Voter Registration Genius program provides dedicated staff in efforts to raise the voting turnout and give our community the chance to vote smart.
Header Illustration by Dayna Teemer