Students lack motivation, information for voting

Efforts pushing students to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election may be missing a key element: Actually getting them to the polls.

Even though students may be registered to vote, many are not so sure how or if they are going to cast a vote.

Undergraduate Student Government at the Tempe campus has registered around 4,000 students since January 2011, said Rachel Chewakin, USG director of civic engagement.

“We are also doing an intense voter drive this week and are projecting to register at least 500 voters in the next week,” Chewakin said.

But with a student population of more than 73,000, out-of-state students are looking for resources.

Journalism junior Sam Koukoulas is registered to vote absentee in the state of New York, but said she is not sure if she is going to.

“I don’t feel either candidate represents me the way I want to be represented,” she said.

She said the process was easy and students need to make sure to give the allotted time to register and receive their ballot in the mail.

Koukoulas said she would really like to vote because it is the first presidential election that she has been old enough to participate in.

She said there might be a lot of other students who feel like her, and do not want to take extra steps to find out where to cast their votes, when they really don’t fully support either candidate.

“I’ve never ever thought that I would not vote,” she said.

Japanese freshman Kevin Salter is taking advantage of absentee voting in the state of Texas.

He said the process to sign up is not difficult.

“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. “Plus, there are always people around campus asking if you know what you’re doing.”

Many in-state students said this week they did not know where they could vote around campus and some said they might drive home to cast a vote.

Arizona Student Association Tempe Director Megan Riley said there will be early polling from Oct. 15 through Nov.  2 on the first floor of Palo Verde West.

Riley, a political science junior, said this will be the third year Palo Verde West is holding early voting polls.

Riley said she will be using this location to cast her vote.

Voters must register by Oct. 9 to cast ballots early.

Students participating in early voting must be registered in Maricopa County and be able to provide either one photo ID or two forms of ID with their name and address.

Maricopa County Recorder’s Office spokeswoman Yvonne Reed said the county does not put more polls on campus because it makes it difficult for other people in the precinct to vote.

“We find that many students do not take advantage of a polling place anyways,” Reed said.

Abe Christian, executive assistant to congressional candidate Vernon Parker, graduated from ASU in 2011 with a degree in global studies and was a part of the ASU College Republicans group.

Christian said he thinks there should be an easier way for students to find out where they can cast their votes because a lot of them do not make the effort to figure it out.

“I think students should automatically be assigned a polling place when they sign up for classes,” he said in an email. “Blackboard should tell them where to vote.”

 

Reach the reporter at hblawren@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @hannah_lawr