Democratic Party of Georgia representatives offered free merchandise and voting information to encourage University of Georgia students to vote at an event outside Memorial Hall on Thursday.

While early voting in Clarke County continues through Nov. 4, Thursday was the last day to vote early at the Tate Student Center, the only advance voting location on UGA campus. 

“Youth voter turnout in Georgia was crucial to Democrats’ victories last election cycle, and the voices of students in Athens and across the state will once again help determine this year’s midterm elections,” said the Georgia Democrats in a press release. 

UGA senior and event volunteer Ethan Hackmeyer said the Democratic Party aligns most with his beliefs, and he has attended at least three similar GA Democrats events in the previous weeks. 

“I really love Stacey [Abrams] and Rev. [Raphael] Warnock. I think they’re going to do great things if they’re elected,” Hackmeyer said. “I think they really want to fight for the people rather than our current leadership, which I really feel has been more just for corporations and the top.”

Hackmeyer said the event is to encourage students to vote, and also for students to see Democrats’ passion on campus.

“I’m happy to see a lot of students go into Tate and vote,” said fourth-year student and volunteer Vaneza Desrosier, “and of course, since a lot of students are from different parts of Georgia and different parts of the country, it’s great to see a lot of them register to vote in Clarke County where we can see change in the Athens community we love so much.”

Members of the DPG handed out free T-shirts, snacks, signs, temporary tattoos and pamphlets while student volunteers offered students the chance to pet a donkey, a dog or a small goat named Momo between class changes. 

Desrosier and Patrick Sheridan, a UGA graduate student, said it is important for students to vote to make sure their voices are heard in this election. Sheridan said the option to vote at Tate is very convenient for students. 

“A lot of times, issues that young people care about don’t really get taken seriously because there’s so few people coming out and voting,” Sheridan said. “Fortunately, that’s changing.”

According to 2020 data from the GA Secretary of State, roughly 15% of those who voted in Clarke County were 18-24 years old. Of all 18-24-year-olds registered in the county, 59.72% voted in the election. 

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