USD students take on 2020 election with ‘Get Out the Yote’

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:35 PM CDT
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - We are officially one week away from election day in America and in South Dakota, there are some important issues on the ballot.

One University of South Dakota organization is helping get students involved in the voting process.

‘Get Out the Yote’ is an initiative at USD helping students make their voices be heard in this upcoming election.

Prior to Addison Miller returning to Vermillion for his sophomore year at USD, he had an idea to help students register to vote for the presidential election.

“We (South Dakota) do have some of the more restrictive voter registration laws in the country. We can’t online register, we can’t same-day register, we have to register by October 19th. Often times that can be a big issue for youth and may not know how to do it especially coming from rural areas,” said Miller.

Miller started ‘Get Out the Yote’ to help USD students register to vote. He teamed up with the political science department and the honors program and had registration booths at athlete facilities, dorms, and the student union.

“It’s just turned out really well and it’s been a really big community effort, a lot more than I could’ve expected because I think people wanted to have these opportunities to register to vote and organize these things. Most organizations I’ve talked to have wanted to do something like this but they’ve never had someone to organize it and put it together,” Miller added.

State records show an increase in registered Clay County voters from the 2016 election, and that’s something Miller takes pride in.

“No matter what increase is more significant doesn’t really matter, it’s that the increases were significant and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Miller added.

Miller says his goal is to show the younger generation that their vote matters, and filling out a ballot is a vote for the future.

“Well we are kind of the future, especially if you’re in college you obviously want to go on and do something, so I feel like this is also the time when you start learning what’s really important to you,” said USD Student Ella Graf-Spielman.

“Personally, I want to start being listened to. Personally, I want my voice to count just as much as the 60-year-old in the retirement home, not that either one matters more but I want it to matter as much,” Miller said.

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