JMU in the Community

new voting precinct


 

SUMMARY: This past summer, Harrisonburg City Council approved a new voting precinct at the JMU Convocation Center. The request was submitted to the city's Electoral Board in March by Josh Humphries, a senior political science major and chairman of the Student Government Association's Legislative Action Committee.


new voting precinct




Beginning with next year’s presidential election, voting will be more convenient for JMU students living on campus.

This past summer, Harrisonburg City Council approved a new voting precinct at the JMU Convocation Center. The request was submitted to the city’s Electoral Board in March by Josh Humphries, a senior political science major and chairman of the Student Government Association’s Legislative Action Committee.

The idea for a polling place at JMU came to Humphries in 2013 when he volunteered with the Get Out The Vote effort on campus. “It seemed logical to me that instead of taking students to the voting precincts, why not bring one to them?” he said. “But also, how can [SGA] get more people voting in every election, not just the presidential [election].”

After extensive research and data collection, Humphries concluded that other Virginia universities with voting precincts closer to campus, such as Virginia Tech, George Mason University and the University of Virginia, see considerably larger voter turnout.

The proposal was not without opposition. “The arguments against the precinct really boiled down to partisanship and negative connotations associated with the JMU student population,” Humphries said. “Other, less convincing opposing arguments questioned whether the projected increase in voter turnout was worth the cost and that we were creating a solution for a nonexistent problem.”

Despite such views, the new precinct was approved, helping solidify Humphries’ status as a model for civic engagement at JMU. In addition to being an influential member of SGA, Humphries holds a leadership role in DukesVote, a student-led nonpartisan initiative to inform JMU students about candidates, register them to vote and get students to the polls. He is also a member of the Marching Royal Dukes.

City election officials are aiming to have the new precinct operational by March 1, 2016, in time for the presidential primary. Students who live on campus and want to vote in this year’s general election should go to Spotswood Elementary School, 40 Mountain View Drive, Harrisonburg. The polls are open until 7 p.m.

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By Kaity Kirwin ('16)

Nov. 3, 2015

Published: Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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