Leonard Williams, professor of political science, has been teaching courses on politics and public policy for 37 years.
Photo by Ashlynn-Kay Brooks

Dr. Williams Teaches the Importance of Voter Registration

Alex Baker

Do you want to vote in the next election but aren’t sure how to register from school? Dr. Leonard Williams, who has been teaching state/local politics and public policy courses for 37 years, can tell you how. The caucuses have started, and Williams is eager to help those that have any pondering questions about how to register to vote.

Williams noted that the caucuses did not start off too well–– the Iowa caucus caught America’s eye, but for the wrong reasons. “There was some trouble with counting of the votes and allocation of the delegates,” Williams said. These problems were due to human error and technical difficulties. “They had an app that was going to make things easier, but it did not,” Williams said. “It had a number of bugs.” The people who were working at the Iowa caucus did not think a disaster like this was going to happen. “Their back-up system had problems, they did not have enough phone-answers, and tricksters were trying to jam the phonelines,” Williams said. “This is not the ideal way to start the presidential election campaign.”

Williams is still skeptical about this caucus even though it has been over for weeks. For instance, Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders feels like he got more votes than what he received. “There are still some questions that Sanders people would like an answer to,” Williams said. “They would like a recount, however, that may be timely.”

Since the caucuses have just started, Williams has begun conversations with students about the importance of voting. “Especially because it is the presidential election year, we must talk about it early,” Williams said. “Students need to know if they are registered to vote and how they can register if they are not.” Following that, he advises students to analyze the candidates and select those that will make the most positive change. “Along the way, getting registered and casting a vote requires meeting some deadlines,” Williams said. “Since we live in Indiana, voters here must register to vote 30 days prior to the primary.” Another piece of advice that Williams would like to share about voting registration regards where one should vote. “The one thing that you need to remember is that you can register here at school, but you cannot register back at home,” Williams said. “You can only register in one place.”

The Indiana primary is in May. “Some places will have already voted by the time we get underway with our efforts,” Williams said. “Since the Indiana primary comes so late, it may pretty much be decided by the time of May.” ‘Super Tuesday’ on March 3, will see about a dozen of the states have their primaries, including large states like California. “It is the biggest prize of them all,” said Williams with a laugh.

On the day of the primary, students should already have an idea of who they are going to vote for. “You would want to walk in and tell them whether you are on the Democratic or Republican ballot,” Williams said. “Then you decide to support one presidential candidate and you are basically saying that you want delegates at the National Convention to support that same candidate.” He noted that it is crucial to get as many eligible voters to vote as possible so everyone’s voice can be heard.

Williams will be hosting some events held on campus that inform students on how to vote. “We have a steering committee of students, faculty and staff,” Williams said. The group held a watch party for the Iowa caucus occurred, though attendance was low due to a lack of marketing efforts.

A reliable website that Williams recommends students to visit is If Manchester students are unable to attend the registration events held on campus, then this website provides helpful information regarding questions about voting registration.