The University of New Mexico community is gearing up for the 2020 general election with in-person and online events for National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
An in-person voter registration drive will take place at the Pit from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The organizers — the UNM Athletics department and the Albuquerque City Clerk’s Office — ask that participants bring their state-issued ID or proof of residency, according to a press release from the Athletics department.
UNM assistant athletic director of marketing Carlos Ramirez said he wants to reach the student body and the area surrounding campus with the event. He also said that parking at the Pit will be free.
Deputy city clerk Miriam Diemer said she hopes the event will make up for lost ground, as voter registration and voter information self-updates “flatlined” in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
An online civic engagement event hosted by the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group (NMPIRG) will start at 5 p.m. the same day.
The event will double as a lecture series and voter registration drive. Several professionals and students involved in civics, including ASUNM President Mia Amin, will speak about the importance of youth civic engagement and common concerns students have concerning voting, like how to get registered.
UNM junior and NMPIRG campus relations coordinator Andrew Schumann said he wants the event to help “educate and inspire students” to register and engage in politics.
“Young people definitely have the ability to make a huge impact,” Schumann said.
According to an ASUNM resolution introduced on Sept. 16, Generation Z — people from the ages of 18 to 23 — are “projected to comprise one-in-ten eligible voters, up 4% in 2016.”
ASUNM Resolution #4F — introduced by Senators Emma Hotz, Reina Harper and Ryan Regalado, with ASUNM Governmental Affairs and the UNM College Democrats and Republicans — encourages students to vote by mail and sign up as poll workers.
Liam Paul, a UNM sophomore and vice president of the UNM College Democrats, said there is “so much more to it than just voting for president,” referring to down-ballot races — Congressional seats and state and local offices — that often most directly affect voters.
“We’re giving away our right to self-governance by not participating in our democracy,” Paul said.
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The deadline to register to vote in New Mexico is Tuesday, Oct. 6 and the last day to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, Oct. 20, both of which can be done on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website.
Gabriel Saiz is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GSaiz83