Democracy Fellows Passionate About Student Voting

Sep 18, 2020

Seniors Alexandra Royal and Chris Lisle are working to encourage participation in the Nov. 3 general election.


Alexandra Royal (left) and Chris Lisle

Politicians covet votes, but Cal U seniors Alexandra Royal and Chris Lisle simply want their fellow students to register and to participate in the Nov. 3 general election. 

Royal, a dual major in history and political science with a minor in women’s studies, and Lisle, a political science major in the Honors Program, are both Campus Election Engagement Project fellows. 

CEEP is a national nonpartisan project that helps leaders at America’s colleges and universities engage students in federal, state, and local elections. 

The fellows participate in voter engagement planning, help to educate classmates about candidates and issues, conduct registration drives and encourage students to go to the polls. Each receives a $1,000 stipend. 

“The fellows were selected based on their knowledge of, interest in, and passion for all things political,” said Dr. Laura Tuennerman, a professor in the Department of Humanities and director of the American Democracy Project at Cal U.  “We know that, especially in a virtual environment, student-to-student contact is really important when trying to get students both register to vote and vote.” 

Royal, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, a sorority dedicated to developing women of poise and purpose, says her goal is to plan virtual events to help her peers on campus learn how the voting process works. 

She looks to study public and international affairs at the graduate level and then continue to work in politics. 

“Being a Democracy Fellow will help with my career as it gives me a foot in the door so to speak into the world of politics,” she said. “Politics and social issues have always been a passionate of mine, so the fact that I get to give back to my school by educating those around me about material I am passionate about is a dream come true.” 

Both fellows are involved with Cal U’s American Democracy Project Voter Registration Drive Sept. 21-23. 

Lisle is co-chair of the ADP’s’ Voter Registration Committee along with Dr. Keat Murray, associate professor of English in the Department of Culture, Media, and Performance. 

Along with planning the voter registration drive, Lisle also coordinated a social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He is also working with Jeromy Mackey, another senior student, as well as a some faculty and staff members to create a Voting Challenge via the social media accounts. 

“​I think that the vote is the single most powerful tool we as Americans have in promoting and bringing about change, and it’s more than just filling out a piece of paper or pressing buttons on a machine, said Lisle wants to earn a Ph.D. in political science and work as a political strategist and consultant. 

“I'm a fellow because I care about our country, and I want to see the vote from young people and college students increase. Far too often young people are overlooked in politics, and the way to stop that from happening is to get young people to start going to the polls regularly and voting.” 

Tuennerman lauded Cal U’s two democracy fellows. 

“These fellows are so important for the promotion of civic engagement at Cal U,” she said.