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Discussion panel led by keynote speaker Randy Gardner educates voters on election issues

A group of student organizations hosted a panel to discuss local issues and the 2014 midterm ballot Thursday, Oct. 30. The goal of the panel was for students to be inspired vote and to inform students to make educated choices when voting Nov. 4.

The panel was done as a personal discussion with a town hall setting, with a circle of the panel and audience. The panel was brought from a broad group of individuals to create a non-partisan discussion.

The panel was comprised of senior Kasie Durkit; University professor and founder of the Women’s Center, Mary Krueger; special events coordinator for the Toledo mayor’s office, Alan Bannister, Chairman of the University’s psychology department and chairman of the Democratic Party for the Wood County Board of Elections, Mike Zickar; and executive committee chair of the Wood Country Republican Party, Matt Reger.

Keynote speaker Senator and University Alumnus, Randy Gardner spoke to the audience about the importance on students’ voters.

“There are more at stake for young voters than there is for others because the decisions are made are going to affect life 5-10 years from now, job opportunities, education opportunities,” Gardner said. “Even though voter participation is lower with students it isn’t logical, because there is so much at stake there is a grater for students.”

The panel covered many issues facing college students, issue of importance of a college vote, students who think that their vote doesn’t count, what they can do to help promote students voting in the face of dwindling student votes, students who don’t know what political party they should vote with, and opened up the panel to the audience.

“Students getting behind in certain issues has had a dramatic affect Wood County … and has affected the city just because students have gotten excited about an issue,” said David Westmeyer, University Undergraduate Representative to the Board of Trustees. “These midterm elections, in my opinion, are going to have as much of an effect on them (students) then the presidential election.”

The panel event also provided different activities available for students, focused in educating students over issues and what is on the ballet. The panel played videos from BG Votes and the Turn Out for What campaign. Booths were set up for to hand out information on general election candidates, voter registration, precinct and voting location with the help of BG Votes, College Democrats, College Republicans, NAACP, Vision and students of service learning.

Senior Emma Sales, civic action leader, said “We reached out to student organizations that we felt could give a different voice then the ones in our panel, I think that’s important for students to know regardless of your demographics, regardless of where you come from your going to be able to talk to someone … that could provide answers.”

The panel was created to inspire and educate students on how important the midterm election is to Wood County and Ohio. Although it is not too late for students to learn information and make an educated vote for Nov. 4. There are resources for individuals through the Office of Service Learning’s website tab and BGSU votes to gain more information on the subject.

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