The Arizona Students’ Association began its fall voter registration drive Tuesday night.
ASA is a student-led nonprofit organization that began a student-voting program in 1988. This year, ASA aims to register 6,850 student voters among the four campuses, according to the organization’s voter information handbook.
Political science senior Ricardo (Phillippe) Fernandes said the goal of Tuesday’s Voter Kick-off Rally was to attract representatives from all campus organizations, including sororities and fraternities.
Fernandes, an ASA intern, is the event coordinator and said he views the event as a team-building partnership as well as a rally.
ASA tries to rally students to vote on policies that would have direct effect on them, such as the last legislative session’s House Bill 2675.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, proposed to impose a mandatory tuition rate of $2,000. Kavanagh withdrew the bill in March following student protests.
ASA led many of these movements.
“The whole point of voting is to ensure you have the majority going against or for something,” Fernandes said. “Awareness and interest are the biggest parts.”
Design studies junior Katherine Husson said she decided to attend the event to learn more about ASA.
Husson, a first-year student at ASU, said her interest in politics stems from her father serving in the military.
“We can make our own decisions and better our future by the way we vote,” she said.
Fernandes said ASU’s large student body makes it difficult to influence more students to register to vote.
“Everybody is (an) individual and (focuses on) getting from point A to point B,” Fernandes said. “(ASA) has to come up with different ways to engage students.”
Political science senior Ryan Sperrazza said this is his first semester with the organization and he is extremely proud of ASA’s progress with reaching out to students and their social clubs.
Sperrazza said voting allows citizens to express their thoughts to the Arizona Legislature to prevent government bills that are “detrimental to a student’s higher education.”
Sperrazza’s mother is a teacher and he said he is a strong proponent of higher education. He said ASA brings state legislative acts to a local student level.
“Locally there are initiatives on the board right now that directly affect us,” Sperrazza said.
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Michael Gordon contributed to this article.