BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
The local alumni and college chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host a voter registration drive Saturday during the home football game of Bethune-Cookman University against Florida Tech.
“We are joining with other chapters and with the college chapter starting at noon,” John Huger Sr., president of the Beta Delta Lambda alumni chapter, told the Daytona Times this week.
“We will set up outside of the stadium with registration stations on both sides,” he added.
“Within our fraternity, one of our national initiatives is to publicize ‘A Voteless People is a Hopeless People.’ Our national president asked us to do a voter registration drive this weekend in hopes that we can bring attention to midterm elections.”
Huger also explained that those interested in registering to vote need to bring an ID such as a driver’s license. The football game is 4 p.m. Saturday at Daytona Beach’s Municipal Stadium. B-CU plays the Florida Institute of Technology based in Melbourne, better known as Florida Tech.
“A Voteless People is a Hopeless People” was initiated as a national pogram of the fraternity during the 1930s when many African-Americans had the right to vote but were prevented from voting because of poll taxes, threats of reprisal, and lack of education about the voting process.
Voter education and registration has remained a dominant focus of the outreach activity for over 65 years. In the 1990s, the focus shifted to include political awareness and empowerment, delivered most frequently through town meetings and candidate forums.
“We are trying to live that initiative out,” Trevon Friar, a senior nursing student and chapter president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Delta Beta chapter said. The chapter is located at Bethune-Cookman University. “The purpose behind it is to specifically get our people to come out to vote.”
“People complain about things not happening in our community or state but aren’t coming out to vote at the polls. We have to learn to become educated. We put other things in front of voting, (such as) social activities. We would like a lot of support from the community and are here to help others learn about those on the ballots and about the candidates,” he continued.
Friar said information on city, county and state candidates will be available at the drive. The organization will also be on social networks Facebook (DeltaBetaAlphas), Instagram (BCUAlphas), and Twitter (DeltaBetaAlphas) promoting the event to local students.
According to the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections website, to become a registered voter in the State of Florida, a person must:
Be at least 18 years of age (may preregister at 16); be a citizen of the United States; be a legal resident of the State of Florida; be a legal resident of the county in which that person seeks to be registered; and registers pursuant to the Florida Election Code.
The following persons, who might be otherwise qualified, are not entitled to register or vote: A person who has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in this or any other state and who has not had his or her right to vote restored pursuant to law; a person who has been convicted of any felony by any court of record and who has not had his or her right to vote restored pursuant to law.
A person who is not registered may not vote.
Registered voters can check their status and polling location by visiting Volusia.org/elections. Per Florida statute, residents must be registered to vote at least 29 days before an election to be eligible to vote in the general election on Nov. 4. The last day to register for the election is Oct. 6. Early voting is Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.