|2005 Voter Registration Form|
Students just starting their college career will spend the next four years living in Fort Collins, longer if they pursue a post bachelor degree. Some will go back home during the summer (if moving back in with parents for three months really sounds like fun) but for the most part, Fort Collins is home to the 25,000 students who attend CSU.
Which is why students who attend college here should also register to vote here.
Last spring's city election is a case-in-point. With some city council members' term limited, new councilpersons were elected. This coincided with a strong community sentiment pushing for enforcement of the three-unrelated ordinance, a rarely enforced law restricting more than three unrelated individuals from living in the same residence.
This issue, which almost exclusively affects college students, was a key point for candidates leading up to the April election. While some supported stronger enforcement, opponents proposed other solutions to the noisy parties and poorly kept yards that had residents complaining. After the election, the new city council remains somewhat divided on the issue, although the city hopes to seek out options to appease all residents.
That's an election that affects college students. If the three-unrelated ordinance was enforced, one student's share of rent would dramatically increase. Four students sharing a four- bedroom townhouse would pay maybe $400 a month for a total of $1600. If one student had to move out, the remaining amount per student would be $533. For students who work their way through school, that's a significant difference.
The November 2006 election will affect students as well. The congressional race for House District Four is predicted to be one of the closest in the country between an incumbent and challenger.
Marilyn Musgrave won her second term last year by a slim 6.4 percent margin over Stan Matsunaka, less than half the margin between her and Matsunaka in 2002. Tom Delay named her as one of the Republican Party's 10 Most Vulnerable Incumbents.
This close a crucial election might be entered by Angie Paccione, a representative to the Colorado General Assembly and education instructor at CSU.
Whomever a student supports, each candidate will need every vote they can get. And the outcome will affect national policy.
Most crucial issues on the ballot this November are referenda C and D, which will decide whether or not students pay 30 to 50 percent more in tuition next year.
"Colorado is at a crossroads. We can privatize our public universities or we can begin to fund them at a level that continues their present missions," CSU President Larry Penley said at his Fall Address last Thursday.
These issues make it crucial students in Fort Collins register to vote here during their college years. Voters must register before October 3 and can download the short and easy form at http://www.larimer.org/elections/votreg.htm or under this column on the Collegian website (www.collegian.com). Early voting starts October 17 and Election Day is November 1.
Ben Blekley is a senior technical journalism major. His column runs every Monday in the Collegian.