Mercer to Hold Post-Election Symposium at Tattnall Square Center for the Arts

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MACON – Mercer University will host a post-election symposium Nov. 27 from 3-8:30 p.m. The symposium will consist of three sessions and a reception, all free and open to the public, which will take place at Tattnall Square Center for the Arts at 1096 College St.

The symposium is hosted by Dr. Chris Grant, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science in Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts, in connection with students in this semester’s Campaigns and Elections course, taught by Dr. Grant. He received support for this event from the University’s Research That Reaches Out semester funding initiative.

“Semester project funding is an opportunity for faculty to try out innovative, engaged learning strategies in the classroom,” said Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, director of Research That Reaches Out and associate professor of chemistry. “Our office is focused on supporting faculty in the integration of research and service, and Dr. Grant’s project is a good example of engaging students in research that addresses real-world problems. In this case, it’s voter engagement.”

The schedule for the symposium is:

  • 3-4:30 p.m. – “Ground Game” panel with state political operatives to discuss tactics and outcomes of the 2018 election cycle
  • 4:30-6 p.m. – Student research poster session
  • 6-7 p.m. – Reception
  • 7-8:30 p.m. – “Election 2018: What Happened?” panel featuring Mercer Law School Dean and former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox; conservative activist, CNN political commentator and former congressman Jack Kingston; former (Macon) Telegraph editorial page editor Charles Richardson; and Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Audrey Haynes, associate professor of political science at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Grant’s students have been conducting research this semester on voters under 30 years old and how to motivate them to participate in the political process.

“Understanding how to effectively engage ‘Under 30’ voters will continue to be one of the most important topics of consideration for candidates and their consultants in the coming years,” he said. “How ‘Under 30’ voters develop their political identities will shape American democracy for the rest of the century.”

As part of the symposium, students will participate in a poster session, sharing research findings that include analyses of Get Out the Vote efforts, social media campaigns, partisanship and campaign messaging.

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Kyle Sears