© 2024 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
During the academic year, Southeast Missouri State University's student-led publication, the Arrow, contributes campus news for KRCU's digital and broadcast audience.

SEMO Dems Bring NAACP & County Clerk To Give the Ins-and-Outs of Registering Voters

SEMO Student Dems & other students pose for a photo alongside NAACP representative & County Clerk Kara Clark Summers.
Photo by Leola Poe/Southeast Arrow
Southeast Arrow
SEMO Student Dems & other students pose for a photo alongside NAACP representative & County Clerk Kara Clark Summers.

The student Democrats of Southeast Missouri State University hosted a humanitarian initiative in partnership with the Cape Girardeau NAACP and the Cape Girardeau County Clerk office.

College Democrats of Southeast Missouri State, founded in the fall of 2023 by Camille Shoals and Brock Freeman, is the southeastern Missouri college representative organization dedicated to mobilizing, educating, and engaging active and/or future Democrats.

College Democrats orchestrate and support various Diversity,Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) program events while contributing advocacy and outreach to the diverse minorities on campus and within Cape Girardeau.

NAACP President Patrica McBride, alongside the local County Clerk, Kara Clark Summers, participated in a speaking panel open to the university. They answered student questions on voting registration, canvassing policies, and implementing a polling station on campus on April 17.

Students who attended were able to register for voting, update their registration, gain knowledge on absentee voting information, learn about current political ballots and be made aware of accessible voting options and paid poll worker positions.

Participants were able to discuss professionally about youth involvement and community outreach agendas. Students gained personal learning opportunities with this new access to local political knowledge and resources.

This event helped the university and its organizations to better encourage political awareness and to foster the relationship between the College Democrats, the County Clerk's office, and the local NAACP for future partnerships with mutual benefits.

Currently, the College Democrats and the County Clerk's office have a pending motion and partnership to install a centralized polling place in the Show Me Center on SEMO campus. The is hope that this will lead to more political engagement for both students and the community of Cape Girardeau.

Cape Girardeau County Clerk Kara Clark Summers showed enthusiasm for collaborating with students and answering the various questions brought from open discussions. She encouraged voter knowledge and assisted in getting multiple students registered successfully.

“I’m excited to be here today and excited to work with the university and College Dems and getting the word out about voting and the options for students to vote and getting them involved whether they want to work at the polls on election day or with other aspects of voting in our community we would love to engage those students and I'm so excited to be working with you all,” Summers said.

Second-year graduate student and vice president of College Democrats Camille Shoals feels this is a new wave for not only the student organization but minority students of the community as well.

Shoals encourages this opportunity for students to find their voice and learn the ways they can use it by voting.

“I think that specifically for students, increasing registration and voting is very important because the majority of students on campus are in-state, so if students have grievances about the way that Cape Girardeau is run, if they have grievances about the way the state is run, or how America is running right now, then they can vote. Our main priority as College Democrats of Southeast Missouri is to make sure that everybody who is eligible to vote can vote.” Shoals said. “And I think for specifically minority students on campus having the presence of a national organization that is dedicated to the advancement of African-Americans one makes them feel more at home in this community and gives them more opportunities to serve the public.”

Junior Marketing Management major Cameron Duncan used this opportunity to advance his own personal political knowledge on the importance of voting and further political aspects.

Duncan wishes to educate his community further and innovate the relationship between the public and politics.

“The event was incredibly informative and productive for me. I’ve been eager to understand how voting works and the role of political parties. Thankfully, I gained valuable insights to share with my community and friends, emphasizing the importance of voting. I’ve always aimed to expand my understanding of political parties, and now I can educate others, bringing crucial information into the spotlight within my community or culture,” Duncan stated.

SEMO Dems hosts voter registration with the help of organization volunteers every Tuesday, 11:00 to 1:30 p.m., on the 3rd floor of the University Center. The organization’s upcoming general meeting is May 1, 5:00 to 6 p.m., in the University Center, and it is open to the public.

If students have any questions they can visit capecounty.us or contact the Cape Girardeau County clerk's office at (573) 243-3547.

The Southeast Arrow, a news partner with KRCU Public Radio, originally published this story.

Find more stories from Leola Poe here.