DATE: Sept. 12, 2012
FOR USE: Immediate
CONTACT: Steve Quakenbush, 620-276-9627
Constitution Day Coming Up Sept. 17 On GCCC Campus
Events offer chance to learn about value of freedoms and register to vote
Students and members of the community can register to vote and learn about constitutional freedoms in a pair of parallel Constitution Day events Sept. 17 at Garden City Community College.
Constitution Day was established as a federal holiday in 2004 to memorialize ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The day is sponsored across the U.S. by the National Constitution Center and Bill of Rights Institute, of Philadelphia, with support from USA Today, the Annenberg Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust.
Various public institutions observe the day each year, and the two outdoor GCCC events will include:
- A voter registration booth, open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in front of Saffell Library on the central campus mall, sponsored by the Student Government Association.
- Eat Free and Live Free, a First Amendment free food festival during the same hours, hosted by GC3 Student Media, SGA, the GCCC Department of Public Safety and the GCCC Drama Department.
Voter registration, open to all citizens, doesn’t require photo identification, but registrants must provide their Kansas driver’s license or state ID numbers, as well as the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. Individuals registering to vote may declare affiliation with either the Democratic or Republican Party, or with no party.
While photo identification isn’t required to register as a voter in Kansas, a recently-enacted statute does require newly-registered voters to present a photo ID when arriving at the polls to cast their ballots.
The Eat Free and Live Free event, also being staged near the library, will allow students or others to enter a designated “socialist state” and receive free soft drinks and gourmet cookies. However, to enter the area set aside as the fictional socialist state, participants will be asked to symbolically sign away some of their constitutional rights, including the right to religious practice, speech and assembly. The symbolic enforcement will be conducted by GCCC Criminal Justice Students, with those from the Drama Department creating demonstrations.
Organizers said the exercise is designed to help participants build understanding about the value and importance of rights that they may take for granted as American citizens or U.S. residents.