Tempe USG hosts National Voter Registration day

USG and several clubs on campus helped students register to vote or update their voter information

ASU clubs from across the political spectrum and the Maricopa County Recorder's office gathered on the Student Services lawn on Tuesday to help register students to vote and educate them on civic engagement. 

The Tempe Undergraduate Student Government hosted several clubs, including Young Democrats and Turning Point USA, as well as the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, in an attempt to help students to register to vote. The event was one of many across the U.S. for National Voter Registration Day. 

Declared a national holiday in 2012, National Voter Registration Day occurs on the fourth Tuesday of every September. 

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes walked around the dozens of student volunteers standing at their booths, drumming up conversation and encouraging students to participate in the democratic process.

"By not being engaged in this process, what (millennials are) saying is, 'I'm okay with those people making the decisions,'" Fontes said. "Younger people don't want older people making all the decisions. We know this to be true."

Fontes brought out members of his office to help educate college students on where, when and how to vote.

Zak Ghali, a public policy masters student and president of the ASU Young Democrats, was at the event in an attempt to help students register to vote.

"I think a lot of people are interested in things that are happening and they want to make a difference, they just don't understand how, or the best way to do it," Ghali said.

Rob McCutcheon, a public policy sophomore, manned one of the booths for Turning Point USA, a club that promotes fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government. 

"The system depends on people being able to be engaged and being able to have a voice," said McCutcheon. 

Only 49.4 percent of millennials voted in the 2016 elections, while the silent generation voted 70.1 percent. Political scientist Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg told NPR in 2016 that even though engagement of millennials is underwhelming, they measure up relatively equal to past generations in their own youth (18-30). 

Bailee Liska, biological sciences freshman, registered to vote because of those sentiments.

"I never really thought it was super important to vote," Liska said. "I feel like after seeing so many things that have been happening around the world, I feel like now is the time to really act upon it."

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission helped to register Liska in just a few minutes as another volunteer encouraged students to download a game that would test what they know about their local government. 

"I hope they leave here with the anticipation of receiving a voter registration card from my office, first of all,"  Fontes said. "Secondly, I hope (students) leave here with a sense of community that comes along with active engagement in sort of civil engagement."

Reach the reporter at cbudnies@asu.edu or follow @ChaseHBudnies on Twitter.

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