Suffolk University, recognized nationally for its student voter engagement, continues to foster civic participation through a series of events leading up to the November 6 elections.

Already there are more than 200 new voters on the electoral rolls due to a voter registration drive during summer orientation sessions.

“Voting is a gateway drug and we want students to get involved as soon as they possibly can,” said Professor Rachael Cobb, chair of the Government Department. “We have created a positive culture of voting here at Suffolk, and we are always looking for ways to enhance and improve it.”

One of the advantages of voting: Campaigns pay attention.

“You become part of a network of participants who get invited to join other campaigns as a voter, volunteer, or maybe a donor,” said Cobb. “You feel like your vote matters and that you’re part of something bigger.

“We want students to take an active role in electing leaders who represent their interests. Students need to take voting seriously, because important political decisions matter all the time.”

Suffolk recognized for student voting

The University’s efforts to encourage students to get involved in the electoral process has been recognized on the national level.

Suffolk was named one of the “58 Best Colleges for Student Voting” in the 2018 Washington Monthly College Rankings. A year ago, the University received a silver seal for achieving a student voting rate between 60 and 69 percent in the first-ever ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which recognizes colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates. And the University was been classified as a "high-voting-rate campus" in a 2016 report on student voting rates from Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

“Community and civic engagement is part of the ethos here at Suffolk,” said Adam Westbrook, director of the Center for Community Engagement. “Voting is one of the many ways students get involved and have their voice heard. We’re looking forward to a great year of voter engagement.”

Suffolk student voting events kicked off on September 4, primary voting day, with a voter registration session during a welcome-back barbeque. Many additional activities will be offered during the fall semester.

Suffolk Votes 2018 Calendar of Events

12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 11, Sawyer Building, Room 9078

  • "Suffolk Votes: Midterm Madness: Becoming a Poll Worker” event with Government Professor Rachael Cobb and her students
  • Pizza and voter registration in Sawyer 824: First 150 students to register get a free SuffolkVotes T-shirt

12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 18

  • “Suffolk Votes: Midterm Madness: Becoming a Poll Worker”
  • Pizza and voter registration in Sawyer 824: First 150 students to register get a free SuffolkVotes T-shirt

12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 25National Voter Registration Day

  • “Suffolk Votes: Midterm Madness”
  • Pizza and voter registration in Sawyer 824: First 150 students to register get a free SuffolkVotes T-shirt

12:15–1:30 p.m. Thursday, September 27, Sargent Hall Fifth-Floor Commons

  • “People Who Don’t Vote: Their Impact and Importance in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.”

Pollster David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, will discuss polling in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections. Paleologos will be joined by Government Professor Rachael Cobb, an expert in American electoral politics and election administration.

12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 2

  • “Suffolk Votes: Midterm Madness”
  • ​Pizza and voter registration in Sawyer 824: First 150 students to register get a free SuffolkVotes T-shirt

12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, Modern Theater

  • OneVote, a film and documentary that bears witness to the humanity and rich diversity of American voters and to the unsung stories that comprise the exercise of democracy. The film follows five diverse Americans on Election Day 2016. Christine Woodhouse, the film’s creator and director, will answer questions following the film screening.
  • Voter registration from 12:15 2 p.m. in Modern Theater: First 150 students to register get a free SuffolkVotes T-shirt
  •  

6–8 p.m. Thursday, Thursday, October 11
“How Democracies Die” with Daniel Ziblatt, Sargent Hall, Fifth-Floor Commons

  • “Is American democracy at risk?” Daniel Ziblatt, Harvard University political scientist and co-author of The New York Times bestseller How Democracies Die will discuss the wide range of historical and global examples. Ziblatt’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion with Suffolk scholars, moderated by Acting Provost Sebastián Royo.

Book Group

  • The Ford Hall Forum will host a How Democracies Die fall book group moderated by Government Professor Christina Kulich-Vamvakas and open to all Suffolk faculty, staff, and students. Book group participants must attend all four of the following discussions.
    • 12:15–1:30 p.m. Thursday, September 20, Poetry Center, Sawyer Library, Third Floor
    • 12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 2, Sargent Hall, Faculty Dining Room, Fourth Floor
    • 6–8 p.m. Thursday, October 11, How Democracies Die coauthor Daniel Ziblatt at Ford Hall Forum, Sargent Hall, Fifth-Floor Commons
    • 12:15–1:30 p.m. Thursday, October 18, Sawyer Library, Moakley Archives, Third Floor

12:15–1:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 16, Sawyer Building, Room 9078

  • T-Shirt Tuesday “Suffolk Votes: Midterm Madness” with student presentation: “What are the issues in this election?” and “Beyond Voting” from Professor Rachael Cobb’s Voting Rights course
  • Pizza and voter registration in Sawyer 824: First 150 students to register get a free SuffolkVotes T-shirt

Wednesday, October 17: Voter Registration Deadline for Massachusetts State Election

Monday, October 22–Friday, November 2: Early Voting period in Massachusetts

Tuesday, November 6: Massachusetts General Election

  • Voter walks leaving from different locations around campus every 2 hours

—Tony Ferullo