Cal U’s American Democracy Project plans events surrounding critical race theory and voter registration


California University of Pennsylvania campus

Harleigh Wiesenbach, Contributor

After completing four different voting and political science education events for the fall semester, the American Democracy Project has more planned for the Spring 2022 semester. The initiative plans on events surrounding critical race theory and potentially another Voter Registration Day due to the big election year.

The American Democracy Project is an initiative across different campuses to encourage students to become more involved in political science issues and vote.

“We want you registered to vote,” said Chris Lisle, studying a master’s in arts and teaching and the social media technician of the American Democracy Project. “We want you to be better educated on the issues. We want to actually go and vote when the time comes.”

According to Cindy Speer, who handles the administrative side of the American Democracy Project, the initiative tackles voting and other political issues from an educational and factual perspective, leaving the bias out.

“The American Democracy Project encourages students to have a voice and vote, but actually learn so they think about these issues,” Speer said.

On top of the other potential events next semester, Lisle is creating nonpartisan candidate guides for many of next year’s elections. When completed, he will be posting them on social media as well as distributing them around campus.

“There are some very big elections that have very big implications on a lot of different topics and issues,” Lisle said.

According to Lisle, some elections to look forward to are the primaries for the entire House of Representatives, entire state House and half the state Senate, as well as the election for the Lieutenant Governor. The upcoming year is also a midterm year for the primaries for PA’s Governor’s Race.

This semester, other than Voter Registration Day and encouraging students to vote, the American Democracy Project had put together panels on climate change, vaccine hesitancy, and Constitution Day.

“I think it’s important to bring all these events to campus, from climate change to social media,” said Speer. “We discuss these topics so that students aren’t just at the mercy of their parents’ opinions.”

“You have to keep standing up and saying ‘no this matters,’ because if you don’t, you allow for people who don’t care about the same values to run your life,” Speer said.

According to Lisle, this is especially important with smaller elections, as data supports that voter turnout is higher in years of a presidential election.

“At the end of the day, local elections are the ones that matter more because decisions that are made by those officials are the ones that you feel the impact of more and the most,” Lisle said.

No matter the election, Lisle and Speer agree that it is important to get out there and vote.

“The American Democracy Project gives the facts from both sides and tells you to go make your own decisions and vote accordingly,” Lisle said. “Just please go vote.”