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Campuses show mixed results in voter registration drive

Over the last two weeks, student leaders across ASU have made a big push to get out the vote.

Working with the Arizona Student Vote Coalition, ASU’s student governments held events and even went dorm-to-dorm to register students to vote before the registration deadline on Monday.

The Arizona Student Vote Coalition was created in 2004 to register 18- to 30-year-olds and help increase voter turnout among the younger population.

Students at each ASU campus registered to vote, though not all student governments reached their goals. Events were held throughout the two weeks, in what organizers called a “blitz week.”

Tempe Campus

The most students were registered to vote at the Tempe campus, where the ASU Tempe Votes 2010 initiative registered 1,336 students. Tempe showed the most newly registered students in the state, said Undergraduate Student Government vice president of policy Michael Wong, a political science and economics junior.

Many organizations got involved with the registration effort on the Tempe campus, including the Residential Hall Association, USG and the Arizona Students’ Association.

Wong said the collaboration between the organizations allowed them to sign up such a large number of students. RHA and USG worked together in getting volunteers to go through residential halls and register students in their rooms, Wong said.

They also had large, visible events to attract students to registration stations. Cotton candy, snow cones, tie-dye T-shirts and a rock climbing wall all helped attract students to registration stations, Wong said.

“There was a very strong positive response,” said psychology sophomore Abby Henderson, ASA director for the Tempe campus. “Students didn’t know much about it, but once they got informed, they were excited about getting registered to vote.”

Downtown Phoenix Campus

Downtown campus students registered the second highest number of students, with 407. Downtown student president Christian Vasquez, a sociology and psychology senior, said the campus met 81 percent of its original goal of 500 students.

Campus leaders also signed up 547 students for the permanent early voting list, which means they will receive all ballots through the mail before general voting. The downtown government’s goal was to get 500 students for the early voting list, Vasquez said, meaning they surpassed the goal by nearly 10 percent.

Everyday for the past week, volunteers were on Taylor Mall asking students if they were registered to vote. They also arranged events at Sparky’s Carnival and various events on the Downtown campus to get students registered to vote.

“I think it went fantastically,” Vasquez said. “It was great for our campus.”

In 2008, the last time this event was held on a large scale, only 153 students registered to vote on the Downtown campus.

Polytechnic Campus

The Polytechnic campus showed a lower turnout, with 56 students registering over two weeks. However, during the two-week project, only three people were working on registration, and ASA board member Victoria Nuciforo said while there were also volunteers, they had some commitment issues.

“It went well for how many people we had on the campaign,” said Nuciforo, a finance senior. “Lack of participation is a problem on Polytech. We don’t usually get the people who are interested in education or politics,”

Nuciforo said one agribusiness science senior single-handedly registered at least 30 of the students.

West Campus

Like the Polytechnic campus, the West campus student leaders didn’t reach their registration goal.

West campus student body president Daniel Hatch, a political science senior, said many students didn’t sign up because the registration events often competed with other events on campus.

A final count of voter registration was not available, but Hatch attributed a low turnout to a base that isn’t as energized this year.

“My goal is to have every single student registered,” Hatch said. “We got a lot registered, but not as many as we would have hoped,” Hatch said.

The voter registration process only took five to ten minutes to complete. Students had to fill out a form and present an acceptable form of identification in order to successfully register.

Student leaders are evaluating the mixed results and trying to figure out how they can reach their goals in the future.

“We’re writing down what worked well and what didn’t, so in the future people can build off of what we did,” Wong said. “We’re leaving a legacy of voter registration.”

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