To combat a declining voter turnout, Long Beach State professors will take action once again.
The Interdisciplinary Public Square, an on-campus group spearheaded by Michael Eisenstadt, director of forensics and assistant professor in the communication studies department, is organizing a teach-in series called “Reclaiming Democracy: A Teach-In on Voting Rights and Voter Suppression” Thursday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Speaker’s Platform in front of the University Bookstore.
According to the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Report, global voter turnout has declined by more than 10 percent in the past 25 years.
Campus members involved with the teach-in are bringing it back for its fourth session because they want to tackle the issue of decreasing voter turnout.
Eisenstadt said through the teach-in, attendees will have the opportunity to register to vote.
There will be numerous speakers and organizations at the teach-in to bring awareness to the current voting situation in the United States.
Along with Eisenstadt, Assistant Professor of Political Science Jared Perkins and junior history major Jaysyn Green are also slated to speak at the event.
According to pewtrusts.org, in this year alone, 10 Georgia counties with large African American populations closed polling places after a white elections consultant recommended they do so to save money.
“Polling stations and ballot boxes in low-income and urban neighborhoods are being closed, and voter registration laws are restricting access to folks casting their votes,” Eisenstadt said. “If we are going to convince more people to vote and increase turnout, we need to ensure people are aware of the importance of voting and work to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to cast a vote for their elected officials.”
Some of these restrictions include but are not limited to: strict photo ID requirements, cutbacks on voting days and hours and tougher constraints to restore voting rights for people with past criminal convictions.
“We are very concerned about the increased restrictions on voting in the United States. This is a threat to our democracy,” Ronald Loewe, a professor of anthropology who is leading the teach-in this year, said.
Groups present at the teach-in include the CSULB College Democrats, the LBSU chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, the California Faculty Association, the League of Women Voters, the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies department and the Korean Resource Center LA.
Loewe emphasized the significance of the younger generation but said generally they do not turn out at voting polls.
Teresa Wright, chair and professor of the political science department, headed the previous teach-in and highlighted the importance of the right to vote for American citizens.
“Voting is the most fundamental means of citizen participation in a democracy and many of the gains of the Civil Rights movement are being lost,” Wright said.