Rushing to Register

 Uncategorized
Oct 062008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

There was a mad dash for pens and valid driver licenses as about 100 students registered to vote through Vote CSU! in the last hour and a half leading up to the national registration deadline Monday afternoon.

Through the course of the semester, the coalition, aided by other on-campus voter registration groups, about registered 6,530 people to vote in the 2008 election.

While Vote CSU! and other participating registration groups did not meet their intended goal of 10,000 registered students campus wide, the coalition said that it was elated by the campaign’s overall success.

On Monday — the coalition’s most successful registration day to date — 350 students registered with Vote CSU! Coalition officials attributed the record number to the urgency of the deadline.

The approximate voter registration totals include:

3,567 registered by Vote CSU! (Includes students who registered online.)

More than 2,000 registered by CSU Students for Barack Obama

969 registered by Progressive Future

Vote CSU! officials said that MoveOn.org, a national voter education and advocacy organization, registered between 5,000 to 6,000 people, adding that MoveOn’s registration numbers were not included in the on-campus registration totals.

“I think that the (registration campaign) was a success,” said Katie Freudenthal, the director of community affairs for the Associated Students of CSU. “(The success) is by the number that we registered and the number of people that got involved; the activism and culture of the developed grassroots organization has been great.”

Voter Education

While registering to vote is the first step in political participation, it is not the last.

Vote CSU! and other organizations will now refocus efforts on voter education and encourage students to get out to the polls and vote from now until the election on Nov. 4.

With his team, Seth Walter, the director of Legislative Affairs for ASCSU, will head the voter education effort.

Walter said the group put together a two-page, “reader friendly” pamphlet with the pros and cons of all of the amendments and legislature on the 2008 Colorado ballot. Walter said they “heavily utilized” information provided by the League of Women Voters, described as “a nonpartisan, political organization that works to increase understanding of major public policy issues” on the organization’s Web site.

At the end of October, members of Walter’s department will teach the first of several hour-long classes to educate student voters further on what they will see on Colorado’s longest ballot in history, with 18 to 19 state and local initiatives.

The Blue Book classes will focus on specific Colorado Amendments listed in Colorado’s Blue Book, a state ballot information booklet provided to citizens by the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly.

Walter said it is the responsibility of the voter to understand what he or she is voting on.

“Look in advance, look at what’s going to be on the ballot,” Walter said. “It’s like a test: Study up and be ready for all the issues that are going to be on there, even if you have to cram the night before.”

The first class is open to the public and will occur Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in Clark A102.

Starting this Wednesday through Oct. 29 students have the opportunity to listen and interact with local political candidates scheduled to speak at the weekly ASCSU Senate meeting.

Local candidate-speakers include the following participants:

Colorado Rep. John Kefalas, D-Larimer County, and Bob McCluskey, who is running against him.

Betsy Markey, Colorado candidate for 4th congressional district.

Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, and Matt Fries, candidate for the state Senate and

Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins.

Students can sit in on the speaker sessions in the gallery in senate chambers, located across from the ASCSU office in the Lory Student Center.

The Voting Process

Election officials have predicted one of the largest voter turnouts in history.

They suggested voting by mail as an alternative to long lines and frustration at the polls.

Officials in the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder’s office said mail-in ballots were sent to registered Larimer County voters who requested them on Oct. 3.

“I continue to encourage Larimer voters to vote by mail this November,” said Scott Doyle, Larimer County Clerk and Recorder, in an e-mail sent to the Collegian. “This will be our longest ballot in history, and we will have more voters at the polls than ever before. Voting from the comfort of your home allows you time to carefully consider your selections and take your time doing so, without the delay of long lines.”

Students can still request a mail-in ballot if they registered to vote by Oct. 6.

To request a mail-in ballot, visit either http://www.larimer.org/elections/absentee_info.htm or contact the Larimer County Elections office at 970-498-7820.

Senior reporter Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collefgian.com

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