Students celebrate the right to vote by helping others


The year 2016 marked the first time that many Missouri Western students could participate in a presidential race. And while many students took to the polls to express their new right, some went even further with their democratic duty.
Thirty five Western students helped work polling stations Tuesday, participating as part of a Pi Sigma Alpha service project.
Alec Guy, Student Government Association executive president, says that a lot of participants are helping in order to get a behind-the-scenes look at the election.
“Most of our members are out here today to get a closer look at how the voting process works,” Guy said. “We’re wanting to see the polls in action.”
The day started early for volunteers – polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m; but Guy said the day was worth it.
“It’s been tiring, but it’s all for a great cause,” Guy said. “We actually had to be here to set up at 5:30, so I’ve been up since 4 this morning.
“The polls have been fairly steady today, so we’ve been busy.”
As for this being his first presidential race, Guy says that watching from behind the booth is a different experience altogether.
“It’s been interesting helping here,” Guy said. “I’ve voted before, but this is my first presidential vote, so it’s interesting to see not only what you do behind the scenes or what you do as a poll worker, but to see how personally voting in the election works at this caliber.”
The majority of volunteers also political science majors discuss the importance of elections to the political process; Guy says that actually seeing the progression of voting over the day helps to explain the process further.
“As a political science major, I know that one of our greatest rights is the right to vote,” Guy said, “so whatever I can do to help others express their opinion with their vote, I’m happy to help.
“Voting is really important and just, as a political science major, seeing this process in action has been helpful.”
Brad Stanton, SGA director of external relations, says that the experience was both amazing for him as well as the voters he helped.
“I think that democracy is incredibly important and I want to be involved in the process as much as possible,” Stanton said, “and I want to help others be involved, too.”
Guy says that he isn’t the only one helped by the volunteering; he points to the university as an institution that “benefits from getting out a lot of Missouri Western students working the polls and helping in the community and showing that the university cares.”