April 23, 2008

Voter Education Forum set for Saturday

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A pair of Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty members is among the featured speakers at a public Voter Education Forum on Saturday, April 26.

The Gamma Kappa Omega (Carbondale) of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.is hosting the forum from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Newman Catholic Center in Carbondale. Speakers include political scientist John S. Jackson, III, visiting professor with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute; Randolph Burnside, assistant professor of political science at SIUC; and Kevin Anderson, assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. Carolyn A. Snyder, first vice president of programs for the League of Women Voters of Jackson County, will be the session moderator.

Co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Jackson County with donations from the African American Museum of Carbondale and the Southern Illinois Dental Hygienists' Society, the forum is free and open to the public. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is providing a free lunch prepared by Heartland Caterers from 11 a.m. until noon.

Organizers say that during this important election year, it's critical for voters to learn about the issues that affect their lives. This forum's goal is providing that valuable information. Anyone age 17 and older is welcome. Voter registrars will be on hand to register people to vote; those interested must present two forms of identification. There will be sample ballots and mock voting booths on site, courtesy of Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt and his office. The Carbondale Public Library will present a bibliography and book display.

Speakers will discuss the voting process, voting behaviors and presidential primaries, caucuses and conventions and other topics of interest. Elizabeth Lewin, president of the Gamma Kappa Omega Chapter, will welcome those in attendance.

The program includes:

• John S. Jackson – "Presidential Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions: Why You Should Care." Jackson earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt University. His previous experience also includes serving SIUC as dean of the College of Liberal Arts, vice chancellor and provost and interim chancellor. He's made his mark with a number of publications and presentations as well.

• Randolph Burnside – "Young People and Voting." A native of Philadelphia, Miss., Burnside graduated from Mississippi State University with his bachelor's and master's degrees in political science. At SIUC since 2005, he is currently researching disaster management policy with a focus on the role media and government played during and after Hurricane Katrina. He's also involved in studying the impact of religion on politics. In addition to his research and teaching, Burnside assists students with internships and other advanced opportunities.

• Kevin Anderson – "What It Is and How It Works: Politics in America." A Little Rock, Ark., native, Anderson earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in political science at the University of Arkansas and his doctorate at the University of Missouri. His political experience includes interning for the Arkansas Democratic Party and for Arkansas Congressman Tommy Robinson. Anderson served in the research department for the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. Anderson researches black politics in America and political ideals and is currently completing a book for the University of Arkansas Press.

• Carolyn A. Snyder – is retired from SIUC, where she served as a professor, dean of Library Affairs and director of SIU Foundation relations before retiring in 2006. Her career also includes working as associate dean for public services, interim library dean and personnel officer at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries. She held a number of professional library association leadership positions, published numerous articles and a book about libraries and distance learning and made many presentations before national and state library and technology organizations. Snyder is also active with the Carbondale Community Arts Board of Directors and executive committee and a number of other organizations and serves on the board of directors of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.