With Halloween approaching, the Youngstown Student Education Association (YSEA), a chapter of the Education Asociation (OEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), is seizing the opportunity to raise voter awareness in the valley on Oct. 30 by participating in NEA’s nationwide “Trick or Vote” event.
The Trick or Vote event started out of Portland, Oregon in 2004 and expanded to other states across the nation in 2008.
It was formed to encourage higher voter turnout with a Halloween spin. Instead of taking part in the typical Halloween festivities, participants in Trick or Vote go door to door around neighborhoods to pass out candy and materials explaining the importance of voter
Contributors in Trick or Vote will also set up booths around the community for further outreach, as YSEA will be doing at Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center. Representatives from YSEA will be dressing up in costumes to garner attention and passing out fliers and pamphlets educating people about voting and encouraging people to vote.
This is the first time such an event has been hosted here at YSU, but representatives from the YSEA said they hope to make it an annual event, possibly including other campus organizations interested in bolstering voter awareness.
Ahmed Sutton, vice president of the YSEA, is heading the event and said he was inspired after reading about it on the NEA Facebook page. Through the event, he hopes to promote awareness, inspire students to get registered and vote every year, not just during major elections.
Sutton cited 2011’s highly controversial Senate Bill 5 as a political issue that required voters to be aware and to consider the impact of laws and lawmakers on their futures. S.B. 5 attempted, before a referendum passed, to limit Ohio Union’s collective bargaining rights.
Kelsey Wormley, president of the YSEA, said that this event is right in line with her organization’s goals for the university, elaborating that elected officials have a profound and direct impact on the education system.
“Going into education has a lot to do with politics because who you elect does affect you,” Wormley said.
Sutton echoed this sentiment, adding that the intrigues of politics impact on education system can also gravely change functions of the greater community.
“As future educators, we need to stay aware of what is going on, because voter decisions not only affect us as individuals, but also our students, their schools and their community,” Sutton said. “This [is] true of all people outside of education as well.”
Sutton summed up the goals of the Trick or Vote event into a few words.
“Voting brings awareness and change,” Sutton said.