Rowan art students team together for voter participation

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In a collaboration with Iowa State and Youngstown University, Jan Conradi’s typography class created posters which declare that young people can change the future. The gallery, called “Register. Vote.” is on-view in the Westby Student Gallery, Room 207, between now and Oct. 6. This is in anticipation of the general election on Nov. 6, where all of the House of Representative seats will be up for voting.

According to an official statement from the three universities, the gallery was meant to address several key questions in American politics: “Why is voter turnout so low?” “Why do people say they care about election results, but don’t care about voting?” and “What can be done to increase voter participation, especially among young voters?”

According to The Pew Research Center, young voters, between the ages of 18 and 35, make up 25 percent of the electorate, but only 41 percent actually voted in the 2018 presidential election – a number which would allow non-voters to have a huge impact on the outcome.

“The works in this exhibit convey energy and express a commitment to participatory democracy,” the statement closes. “Hopefully this work encourages voting in the upcoming November election.”

Among the student artists contributing to the exhibition is Cassidy Greene, senior graphic design major.

“The most difficult thing about creating this poster was trying to figure out an effective way to encourage students to vote,” Green said. “The obvious answer (using patriotic slogans and icons, slathered in red, white, and blue) was not enough. Students, I felt, care more about social issues than political rhetoric. To me, this meant that the answer was connecting those social issues with voting.”

Themes included taking on the patriarchy, encouraging students to use their voices, and citing statistics about how the number of non-voters impacted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

“I think the most important message my poster – and the show as a whole – expresses [is] that nothing is going to change if you don’t step out and take action,” Greene said. “I’m hoping that this show will encourage students to register and vote.”

Featuring statistics of voter turnout among young Americans, the exhibit creates a multifaceted perspective on the importance of voting to our society. Also in the exhibit are samples of voter registration forms and absentee ballots applicable for New Jersey residents.

To register to vote or to check your registration, go to www.vote.org.

For questions/comments about this story, email arts@thewhitonline.com or tweet @thewhitonline.

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