USGT passes resolutions to increase voting opportunities on campus

Senate Resolutions 7 and 8 were passed with support of student organizations

Over two sessions on Oct. 22 and Nov. 5, Undergraduate Student Government Tempe passed two resolutions to improve accessibility to voting on campus. 

Senate Resolution 7 is focused on removing barriers for student voting on campus and increasing voter turnout. 

According to the legislation, 58.7% of ASU students voted in the 2016 presidential election. The resolution goes on to point out that classes can be a barrier to voter turnout on campus, with some students forced to skip class in order to vote, or having to abstain from voting because they are afraid of facing penalization for not attending class. 

To combat this, the resolution urges the University to not only prevent exams from being scheduled on election days but for students to be able to vote or volunteer for associated efforts without facing academic punishment for doing so. 

Senate Resolution 8, in turn, concentrates on making sure there is a ballot center on campus, rather than just a polling location.

Both bills passed with wide support, SR 7 passed 21-1, with one senator abstaining, and SR 8 passed 19-0, also with one abstention. 

The distinction between the two is that polling locations are limited to accepting ballots from one precinct, while ballot centers can accept ballots from all over the county. 

The resolution argues that because ASU students and members of the surrounding community are from different voting precincts around Maricopa County, a ballot center is more convenient for everyone involved.

Both of these resolutions were introduced by Katherine Hostal, a senator for Barrett, the Honors College and a sophomore studying finance. 

Hostal expressed her excitement and stressed the importance of civic engagement, even for students who can't vote, after both resolutions were passed. 

"Providing easier access to voting is something that's always advantageous to the majority of the Arizona State student body, as it helps allow everyone to have their voice be heard," Hostal said. "Even if you are a student that is unable to vote, you can actually still participate by volunteering. We love civic engagement!"

While these resolutions found plenty of support within the USGT Senate, senators were not the only people to support the legislation. Student organizations such as NextGen ASU were also supportive of the efforts and demonstrated their support to the senators.

At the Oct. 22 meeting, NextGen ASU members showed up to the meeting holding signs and chanting in favor of passing the revolutions. Throughout the night, various members spoke in front of the Senate, voicing the importance of campus voting reform.

One of these members was Joshua Valenzuela, a freshman studying politics and the economy, who spoke to the importance of voting to students.

"Voting is the only way in which we as students can promote the radical change we want to see and be a part of, and as of right now we cannot do that unless USG takes action to eliminate the barriers to voting that disenfranchise our students," Valenzuela said. 

USGT Senate President Dominic Frattura, a junior studying business with a focus on global politics, was thrilled to see both the Senate and student organizations working to advance electoral reform on campus. 

"I'm excited to see what the senators do in terms of future resolutions regarding elections, whether it involves local or state politics," said Frattura. "We look forward to working with any on-campus clubs or organizations, and they can come to us in regards to any sort of resolution or legislation proposal they'd like to see!"

The next USGT meeting will be on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. in the basement of the Memorial Union.


Reach the reporter at  jadamso8@asu.edu and follow @jadamson333 on Twitter. 

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