Two Rogers State University students were selected to participate in the upcoming Oklahoma Academy Town Hall Conference, which will feature a discussion among Oklahomans about how to improve voter engagement in the state.
Abigail Peters, a public affairs senior from Adair, and Autumn Fourkiller, a public affairs junior from Stilwell, were selected during a competitive process as two of 10 Oklahoma college students receiving a scholarship to attend the three-day event. The conference starts Sunday in Durant.
The Oklahoma Academy Town Hall is a private nonprofit corporation founded in 1967 by Gov. Henry Bellmon and revitalized in 1985 for the purpose of identifying and discussing critical policy issues facing Oklahoma and creating solutions. The event annually brings together 150 participants to answer questions on the researched issue under focus, which this year is increasing voter engagement. Recent studies have shown that Oklahoma ranks last in the nation for overall voter participation.
Peters is a member of the President’s Leadership Class at RSU, while Fourkiller is a member of the RSU Honors Program and serves as president of the RSU Student Government Association. Both women said voter participation is crucial to the health of Oklahoma and the nation, and they want to contribute ideas to reverse Oklahoma’s trend for low voter turnout.
“This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the dialogue about the issue of voter engagement, while also being able to play a role in creating a statewide agenda to improve voter participation among all age groups, but especially among people our own age,” Peters said.
The conference will review best practices from other states, while also examining the barriers associated with the election process, voter access and voter engagement. By the end of the session, attendees will have developed specific solutions for Oklahoma intended to create a more open process and a better-informed electorate. Those recommendations will be shared actively with lawmakers and other state leaders for action and implementation.
For more information on the Oklahoma Academy or its programs, visit www.okacademy.org.