With the 2004 presidential election fast approaching, voter astuteness is becoming a major concern for Harvard professor and author Thomas E. Patterson.
Tonight, USF will host a lecture titled “The Vanishing Voter” to look at the voting majority, its decline in recent decades and the consequences of such a decrease will be discussed.
In addition, Holly Miller, chairwoman of the University Lecture Series, said the goal of the lecture is to reinvigorate the American voter who has recently been absent at the polls.
Miller said, Patterson received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1971. His works include Out of Order, a critique on the media’s political role, and his most recent, The Vanishing Voter, upon which the lecture is based.
The lecture was brought to USF in hopes that it would increase awareness among the student body about the importance of voting and to stress the importance of being an informed voter, Miller said.
“In 1996, voter turnout for the Presidential election hit a record low, nearing below 50 percent. They tuned out the campaigns and stayed at home Election Day,” Miller said.
Miller added that with his book and his lecture, Patterson hopes to educate students, the new voting public, to increase turnout at the 2004 elections.
The media’s influence in the voting process, Miller said, has become prominent and substantial, and the project has the goal of expanding and increasing citizens’ involvement in the presidential selection process.
Laurie Woodward, director of Student Activities at USF, said the ULS specifically chose the presidential election topic because of its importance among college students.
“We want students to understand the civic engagement of the voting process; to understand that they have a voice.” Woodward said.
The lecture will start tonight at 6 in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom. For more information on “The Vanishing Voter,” the Web site can be accessed at www.VanishingVoter.org .