App State student brings bipartisan voter registration initiative to campus


Voters stand in line to vote at the voting site in the Plemmons Student Union voting site on Super Tuesday March 2020.

Abi Pepin, Reporter

After opening an email sent to all government and justice studies majors, one App State student was accepted to a fellowship that is allowing her to take their initiative for young voters to North Carolina.

McKenna Daley, a sophomore political science major, has been a fellow for Secure the Ballot since December. 

Secure the Ballot, a South Carolina organization, focuses on expanding voting availability for young voters. According to its website, the program “encompasses the full spectrum of voter engagement, education, registration, mobilization and protection.”

The organization provides tools and resources for people to safely and securely vote.

Daley said she and her team are focusing on getting rural, high school, college and university  students registered to vote.

“Our first push in North Carolina started in January and it was just me and a group of four other people,” Daley said. 

The small team wasn’t enough for the task of reaching out to students across North Carolina and South Carolina universities.

“We quickly realized that wasn’t going to work so we are going to start campus hubs.”

Daley said campus hubs are clubs with chapters across universities throughout North Carolina to form a root for the future of the organization.

Daley is starting the first campus hub in North Carolina at App State this fall.

“Right now, since we are so new, we want to just become involved throughout the community,” Daley said. “We want the community to know who we are and what we’re about.”

In the 2022 election, there will be an open Senate seat for Senator Richard Burr retiring, leaving an open seat for the first time since 2004 in North Carolina. 

Secure the Ballot is advocating for nonpartisan voter registration and not campaigning for specific candidates.

Daley said the club will focus on pushing students in the community to register to vote through organizing canvassing events and phone banks, with an emphasis on reaching high school students.

“I think that’s a really unserved population in terms of trying to get them to register to vote,” Daley said. “We want to push into the classrooms and talk about the importance of registering to vote and how they can.”

Daley said she hopes that will allow high school students to be prepared when voting after graduation.

Before the fall semester, Daley is focusing on recruiting politically minded students to be on the leadership team. After recruitment, Daley will apply to the official club charter for Secure the Ballot to make App State’s club official.