Sophomore students encourage midterm voting through volunteer work

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Brett Stone and Caitlin Troutman, sophomores, volunteered for local campaigns during the midterm season.

Prior to the Nov. 4 midterm elections, William Jewell’s political communication students were required to place themselves in the midst of the campaign process. Class members, Caitlin Troutman and Brett Stone, sophomores, took part by volunteering for a call center and a Democratic canvassing campaign, respectively.

Troutman, an Oxbridge literature and theory and political science double major, worked for Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO). She was informed of this opportunity by the Political Communication, Kevin Garner, who composed a list of organizations and causes from which students could choose.

“I didn’t really want to work for a specific campaign. I just wanted to work more generally and tell people why it was important to vote,” Troutman said.

Troutman’s responsibilities for CCO included calling Missouri residents with past tendencies to vote in presidential but not midterm elections, and explaining the importance of voting in midterm elections.

Despite the challenges and uncomfortable situations she faced, including unreceptive and sometimes hostile responses to her calls, Troutman enjoyed her time with CCO.

“I got to meet a lot of cool people in the Liberty community, specifically, who care about important things, and that’s always refreshing,” Troutman said.

Troutmans’s personal ideas about the importance of voting led her to choose this kind of organization.

“Voting in the midterms is so important because it’s more of a direct vote. It’s how the opinions of people are made known to our representatives,” Troutman said. “Our age group is really underrepresented, but if we don’t vote, our opinions and positions can’t be made known.”

Brett Stone, English and political science major, canvassed in Overland Park, Ks. for Paul Davis, a Democrat running for governor. Both the candidate’s accessibility and positions on issues important to Stone guided him to this choice for his campaign participation.

Brett’s favorite part of his experience was a specific woman to whom he spoke, who he describes as friendly and enthusiastic for both the candidate and the election in general.

“It was really neat to meet somebody else who is as interested in politics as I am,” Stone said.

Contrary to this particualar voter’s warm receptions, Stone faced uncomfortable interactions with those who were wary of him or simply were not interested in what he had to say. He understood this, though, as being a natural, skeptical reaction toward anyone who approaches their doors.

However, Stone focused on representation with regard to important issues as a big incentive to participate in the midterm process.

“If you don’t vote, then whoever is elected won’t completely represent the electorate,” Stone said.

Troutman and Stone gave similar advice to those students who will take the political communication course, and participate in these kinds of activities in the future. Their emphasis was on setting aside enough time to find and participate in an election-focused activity the student truly cares about, reducing the chance of stressing over the required hours for the project. They both urge their peers to volunteer for a candidate, cause or campaign that truly speaks to them.

“If you’re looking for ways to get involved in the opportunity, do something you’re invested in, something you care about,” Troutman said.

Erin Melton

Erin Melton is a senior Literature and Theory major and French and Religious Studies minor. She is the chief copy editor and loves camels.

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