Fontes, Haynie celebrate EAC as a Voter Friendly Campus

During a ceremony Thursday, EAC President Todd Haynie, right, and Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes celebrate Eastern Arizona being named a Voter Friendly Campus. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

THATCHER — “To the young voters here and across the State of Arizona, I want to say this: Your vote matters. Your vote matters a great deal.”

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes made those remarks on the Thatcher Campus of Eastern Arizona College on Thursday, taking part in the celebration of EAC being designated a Voter Friendly Campus by the Fair Elections Campus Vote Project and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

“Overcoming barriers to participation in our elections doesn’t just happen; it takes hard work,” Fontes said. “It takes a lot of hard work and partnerships.”

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes talks about the importance of young people taking part in the democratic process by voting. Looking on is Graham County Recorder Polly Merriman. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Eastern Arizona College is one of 238 colleges across the country to receive the Voter Friendly Campus designation.

EAC President Todd Haynie said he was proud of the designation and the college is ready to do what it can to help all eligible voters cast a ballot.

“College students face extra barriers when it comes to voting; lack of information, lack of adequate transportation to the polls (and) confusing requirements even, have traditionally kept college students from voting,” Haynie said.  “At EAC, we are committed to ensuring that our students become engaged with our democratic process.”

Haynie credited the Nonpartisan Club of the Associated Students of Eastern Arizona College, which received a $3,000 grant from MTV to help with outreach, education and registering students. That led to another $2,500 grant to continue efforts and coordinate with the Graham County Recorder’s Office to provide voting booths at a Your Vote, Your Voice event, where hundreds of EAC students were able to cast an early ballot in the 2022 Election.

During the ceremony, Haynie and Fontes recognized the three people most instrumental in getting high voter turnout on campus — student Isaiah Hinzman, Sociology Professor Travis Catt and Graham County Recorder Polly Merriman — presenting each with the EAC Mark of Excellence Award.

The three poeple mostinstrumental in Eastern Arizona College’s designation as a Voter Friendly Campus are recognized during a ceremony Thursday. Pictured are, from left, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, EAC President Todd Haynie and the three honorees, Graham County Recorder Polly Merriman, student Isaiah Hinzman and Professor Travis Catt. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central