Center for Community Action and Research Goes All Out for Voter Registration


Erin Mysogland

Students help the CCAR register students to vote during a tabling event in Kessel on September, 24, National Voter Registration Day.

Callie Anderson, News Editor

The news is already bombarded with information about the 2020 presidential elections, but before election day in 2020, there is still 2019 elections in this coming November, and the deadline for voter registration is quickly approaching.

Pace’s Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR) has been hosting events to help students, faculty, and staff register to vote before New York’s October 11 deadline. CCAR has New York State voter registration forms in its office for students who would like to register with their Pace address and can also help students register to vote in their home community. The main place CCAR registers students is in Kessel during common hour on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Some staff, like Erin Mysogland, CCAR’s program coordinator, carry around registration forms with them wherever they go.

“Registering to vote is honestly a daunting process—it takes some time and effort,” said Mysogland. “That is why we work with students to make it quite easy for them! We help you fill out the form, we send it in for you, and we take you to the polls on Election Day!”

CCAR has a Voter Van on election day to take students to their polling place in Pleasantville. Mysogland pointed out how important it is to make it easy for students to vote because they can help swing election results. For example, President Obama won 66% of the youth vote in 2008.

Mysogland also said that young people’s priorities can shift what politicians talk about and act on.

“Young people supporting action on climate change and gun violence prevention, for example, has changed political discourse on the issues,” said Mysogland. “Voting for candidates that most closely align with the issues you care about makes it more likely things like the Green New Deal, background checks on firearms, etc. pass.”

CCAR’s media coordinator Shaniya Francis, a sophomore economics major, also places a lot of value on students voting.

“We need students to make change,” said Francis. “Your vote is your voice. We are the future generation and if we want to stop the orthodox mindset we need to be more involved in politics and voting. I am tired of people complaining and making excuses but not trying to change anything. It is your civic duty to be involved and help make a difference for everyone around you. The government impacts you more than you think.”

Erin Mysogland
President Martin Krislov registered to vote through the CCAR last year.

Statistically, a large portion of the voting eligible population does not vote, especially if it is not a presidential election. Presidential elections often get a lot of media coverage, so people are more likely to vote because it seems important. However, local elections likely affect the daily lives of people more. In last year’s midterm elections, New York had a voter turnout of 45.2% and ranked 44th in voter turnout out of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

“The local elections are way more important than the presidential election,” said Francis. “Local elections impact taxpayers, education, public roads, and your safety. You are more likely to be better represented because of local elections as well.”

Mysogland added that the police, education, water, public education, and more fall under the local government sphere, so local politicians are making policy that directly affects people.

The CCAR so strongly supports students voting because every vote counts, especially in local elections. Mysogland said that at one point over the summer, 16 votes separated the candidates for the district attorney in Queens.

Both Mysogland and Francis have noticed an increase in the amount of people registered to vote, but know there are still many students unregistered, especially first year students who are 17 or 18 years old. Mysogland has a goal of registering 150 students by the end of the year.

It is recommended that students register with a political party because only people that are registered for a party can vote in the primary elections in New York State.

Along with voter registration and the voter van, the CCAR is involved in getting students talking about social and political issues. They hosted a Democratic debate watch party, workshops on activism, and Common Hour Conversations on various topics such as gun control. CCAR has partnered with political organizations on campus including the Political Science Association and IGNITE.

Overall, CCAR is here to help students with civic engagement and becoming informed about social and political issues.