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September 29, 2023

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Panel to discuss issues for midterm, local elections

The University will host an election forum this Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Union multipurpose room.

The event’s goal is to motivate students to participate in this year’s upcoming election on Nov. 4.

“The whole goal of the event is to pique students’ interest about voting and how their vote matters,” said David Westmeyer, undergraduate member of the University Board of Trustees.

Westmeyer said he hopes the event will encourage students with examples of how students have made their votes count.

“Just in Wood County, there has been legislation that has passed that wouldn’t have been passed if BG students weren’t involved,” Westmeyer said.

Campus and community organizations will have tables set up with information on the gubernatorial race, issues on this year’s ballot and more.

At 7:30 p.m., Ohio Senator of District 2, Randy Gardner, will give the keynote speech regarding the importance of students’ responsibilities to vote.

“I believe students have as much or more at stake in elections as anyone, even though they don’t always vote in substantial numbers,” Gardner said. “Students are impacted by local, state and federal decisions. With their whole lives ahead of them, some of those decisions are magnified for college students. State and federal budgets and decisions that impact the economy are especially important for young people.”

Following the keynote speech, a panel will discuss the importance topics such as voting.

Panelists include: Mike Zickar, chairman of the University’s psychology department and chairman of the Democratic Party for the Wood County Board of Elections; Matt Reger, executive committee chair of the Wood Country Republican Party; Mary Krueger, University professor and founder of the Women’s Center; Alan Bannister, special events coordinator for the mayor’s office in Toledo; and Kasie Durkit, a senior at

the University.

There will be time during and following the panel for students and others in attendance to ask questions.

Even though it is not a presidential election year, Westmeyer said it’s still as important as ever to go vote.

“I think what’s really important is that a lot of people only vote every four years, but a lot of people in the know could argue that midterm elections are becoming significantly more important,” Westmeyer said.

Sen. Gardner spoke of the importance regarding citizen’s duties to vote.

“Ohio has some of the most accessible voting laws in the nation and I have always believed it is our responsibility as citizens in a free society to vote,” Gardner said. “I hope our forum will help encourage more participation in this election.”

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