Shaw students march to early voting site in hopes to empower voters

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s the exact voting block that candidates want but, often don’t show up to vote. The younger voter.

“It is crucial that we get our students knowledgeable on the problems that our communities are facing and having them take an active role in the changes that need to be done,” said Shaw University SGA President and senior Jechel Briggs.

To prove they can make a difference Shaw University students marched Thursday from campus to the closest early voting site in downtown Raleigh.

Some are driven by the divided politics of the nation and others by local debates like gentrification.

“Normally we gather together for the federal elections but I think it’s important for city council elections because for people at the city level and important to Raleigh people as well,” senior Torey Haynes told CBS 17.

If there ever is a case where every vote counts it’s during off-year municipal elections. Voters are notorious for not showing up.  

In Wake County’s last election that included Raleigh mayor, the turn-out was just around 15 percent.

Two years before that it was just around 11 percent. Compare that to 2018’s general election when congressional seats were up the turnout in Wake County was just under 60 percent.

In the 2016 presidential race, it was 75 percent. Freshman Tyrese Perry says too many of his ancestors made sacrifices for him to not show up.  

“And people who came before me that died just so they could have the right to vote and people you know they were beaten and had to go through a lot of crucial things just for us to vote so I think it is very important,” said Freshman Tyrese Perry.

Shaw’s Director of Student Activites Robin Featherstone said the university makes every effort to get students to register to vote and be part of the process.

“The local elections are very important to these students. This is their home away from home, this is where they live, what happens in Raleigh they need to have their voice involved in it,” said Featherstone.

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