MSU students Clint Kelly (left) and Navraj Batra sign up at a voter registration drive held Wednesday.

A voter registration drive on campus gave unregistered students the chance to sign up and become voters Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday was also National Voter Registration Day.

Any student could register to vote in time for the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 6.

In a Mississippi Public Universities press release, Mississippi State University Student Association President Mayah Emerson encouraged students to register.

This year, the voter registration drives were promoted through social media by using #MyVoteMatters. Emerson, who is also the president of the Student Body Presidents’ Council in Mississippi, said the hashtag helps to encourage students to vote.

"We are thrilled about the #MyVoteMatters movement because all nine of us understand that ultimate empowerment is achieved when students exercise their 15th Amendment right to vote," Emerson said. "This statewide initiative to encourage students to be civically engaged is more than just a voter registration drive, it is about empowering students."

Freshman business administration major Austin Anderson registered to vote Tuesday at the booth set up on the Drill Field. Although Anderson is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, he was able to register to vote as a resident at MSU. Anderson said he believes it is necessary for all students to register to vote, even if they do not end up utilizing their right to vote anytime soon.

"I think it is important in case someone does realize something, and they want to be a part of a greater change," Anderson said.

Junior marketing and political science major Morgan Goebel is co-director of SA’s Community and Government Relations committee. She said this is her second year involved with voter registration.

"I became involved with voter registration last year through the nonprofit, Mississippi Votes," Goebel said. "I think it is part of my job to ensure the students of MSU have the opportunity possible to get registered to vote and be involved in the election process."

According to Goebel, there is not a fixed number of students who register each year, but rather the number of registers fluctuates depending on what elections are forthcoming.

"The number of students who register varies based on what type of election year it is," Goebel said. "In presidential years, we have had as many as 3,000 students register to vote. In off-election years, we have had only 300 register. This year is a midterm year and a very historic midterm, so I think that helps us get students registered."

Although this is not a presidential election year, Goebel still encourages people to register and know what registration entails.

"I think it is really important that students are aware of registration laws here in Mississippi, because unlike other states where citizens can register online or on Election Day, Mississippi residents must fill out a form in-person 29 days before the election," Goebel said.

Although one has to sign up almost a month in advance, registering only takes a matter of seconds.

Anderson said he registered fairly quickly.

"Going out of the way could be difficult," Anderson said. "All I did was I walked into Chick-Fil-A, and I am walking back to my room now. I was able to register in 30 seconds and that made it super convenient."

According to Goebel, there were eight tables set up across campus for students to register to vote.

"This midterm, we will be voting on two state Senate seats and a House of Representatives seat," Goebel said. "Two of these races have no incumbents. This election will shape the future of the state of Mississippi, and MSU students can have a say in that future if they are registered and turn out to vote on Nov. 6."

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