The sign on the podium at the Arizona Students’ Association Rally, which aimed to get students out to vote, captured the event’s message: “ASA — Nonpartisan — JUST DO IT.”
Interdisciplinary studies junior Brendan Pantilione, an ASA director, kicked off the event by encouraging all students to make their voices heard.
“We’re a campus of (more than) 60,000 students,” Pantilione said. “In most elections, that’s enough to make a difference.”
ASA intern Anne Taylor, a family and human development senior, emphasized the lack of students who vote.
“College students ages 18-26 are the least represented in elections, and we think it’s important to make a statement about that,” Taylor said. “We are the future; we don’t care how you vote, just as long as you do it.”
Several student organizations, including Young Democrats at ASU, Students for Mitt and ASU VOTES 2012, each lobbied for their own causes and candidates at the event.
Political science junior Selianna Robles, a member of Young Democrats at ASU, said her organization was present to inform people of the Tempe campus’s early polling location at the Palo Verde West Building in Room 151.
“Sometimes students just think that politics isn’t their place, and they’re not part of the process, but they are very much a part of it,” Robles said.
Students were also present to raise support for Proposition 204, also known as the Quality Education and Jobs Act.
Proposition 204 will increase the state sales tax by one cent per every dollar to fund educational programs, public transportation, human services and infrastructure projects, and will begin on June 1, 2013, if implemented.
ASA intern Faryal Mushtaq, a political science junior, supports the proposition.
“This ensures that students’ money will actually go into education purposes only, like tuition, scholarships and grants,” Mushtaq said.
Candidate in the 26th Legislative District Sen. Jerry Lewis, R-Mesa, spoke at the event about the importance of youth involvement in the political environment.
“That is the key to good government. The votes that are cast today will affect you tomorrow,” Lewis said. “Your voice is every bit as important as older voters.”
Lewis talked of creating a sensible and reasonable place for debate, instead of creating a negative political environment.
“We don’t get very far by attacking our opponents. ... We do get very, very far when we attack issues,” he said.
Maricopa County Sheriff candidate Mike Stauffer used this event to get his name and opinions heard.
“I want to make sure our citizens are safe, and that’s not what’s happening now,” Stauffer said to the crowd. “That is what you deserve, an independent law enforcement officer.”
ASA, which was founded in 1974, is a nonpartisan student-run organization that has encouraged student votes throughout the semester, said ASA intern Ryan Sperrazza, a political science senior.
The organization registered more than 7,000 students to vote this semester at the three state universities.
“We basically just stood out in the heat, wearing shirts that said ‘student power’ and got in people’s faces saying, ‘Hey, are you registered to vote? You should because your voice matters,’” Sperrazza said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org