Voter registration drives and an opportunity to meet candidates seeking office are some of the efforts Miami University Hamilton will undertake in the next month in hopes of educating voters before they head to the polls in March.
“So much of the information around election time is driven by partisan agendas, so the whole idea is to be a politically neutral space where dialogue can take place,” said John Forren, a political science professor at Miami University Hamilton.
These public services, he said, are “part of the duty of the university.”
On Friday, Jan. 29, the university’s Center for Civic Engagement will host a Civic Volunteer Fair, where the public can meet candidates running in the March 15 primary, including several of the candidates for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District seat and learn how to get involved in local campaigns.
All 17 candidates for the congressional race — which includes 15 Republicans, a Democrat and a Green Party member — as well as candidates seeking state-level or countywide office have been invited to participate. So far, seven have responded, including six of the congressional candidates.
The Civic Volunteer Fair will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Wilks Conference Center on Miami Hamilton’s campus, 1601 University Blvd.
Voter registration drives will also be held Feb. 1-15 on the campus. The last day to register to vote in the March 15 primary is Feb. 16, and early voting begins Feb. 17.
On Feb. 22, all candidates in all races have been invited to a Meet the Candidates event at the Miami Hamilton Downtown Center. About a handful of the candidates at this time have agreed to attend the event, which will include a question and answer segment.
The candidates night isn’t designed to be a debate, but a dialogue where a conversation between candidates and voters can happen, according to organizers.
“The give and take from the audience is really crucial,” Forren said.
On March 8, an election prep luncheon will be held, where students can discuss the upcoming election. Then on March 16, a post-primary debriefing discussion is planned.
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