Oct 222002
 
Authors: Ashley Wheeland

People around the country are watching Colorado for several of its hot seat competitions. However, many Coloradans will only be watching too. They are missing their chance to vote because they missed the Oct. 7 deadline to register. However, those who did register may be able to change this, ironically, by going to the election booth.

Amendment 30 on the state ballot asks Colorado voters to allow people to register on Election Day. Proponents of the bill say that it will increase voter turnout and perhaps represent the population of the state more fairly in the elections. Opponents of the bill say it will cost too much and that it increases the chance for electoral fraud.

One man in Arvada has gone as far as bringing a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the current Colorado voting law. James Annibella has filed suit against the Secretary of State Donetta Davidson on the premise that the law takes away the right to vote of people who do not know about the registration requirement date.

Six other states already offer same-day registration for elections. In general they have seen an increase in voter turnout. And as of yet have not found any connection with voter fraud.

So how does this affect you as students? You are the people that move the most often in this state. The perplexing permanent address conundrum makes it difficult to know how to stay registered, and where we want to vote. Some of us can vote for the leaders in our parent’s districts. Others of us have settled in Fort Collins and feel that the leaders of this locality are more pertinent to our everyday life. In any case, moving and changing addresses requires going and registering again to vote. Wouldn’t it be easier and an incentive if you could register on Election Day to actually go?

However, changing the system will require upgrades, which cost bucks. The Voting Rights Act, which is currently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and is waiting to be approved by the Senate, would provide Colorado with $56 million over a three-year period for this upgrade.

Despite the costs, shouldn’t our system keep up with election needs? Election officials need to make it important to their agency’s mission to get as many people to vote as possible. This means changing the law and allowing more ways for people to vote, including same-day registration. Our system’s goal should not be about keeping voting registration down.

I have not heard enough about this issue from the candidates running for election. Why? Because increasing voter turnout means increasing the amount and the types of voters that turn out. Rather than this election being primarily about seniors, because Grandma and Grandpa always show up for the election, candidates would have to pay attention to all voters. They would have to talk about more than just national security, social security and Medicare.

This next election will impact us and our interests need representation. With the budget cuts looming, the war push going forward, and the state of Colorado in a plummeting economy it is inevitable that higher education will be feeling the squeeze. Tuition went up last year. It will go up even more next year. This means bigger classes (did you think it was possible?), less professors, less technology and more complaints.

By increasing the playing field of who can vote we give a voice to those that tend to be ignored when decisions are being made. This includes those who are ignorant and apathetic. Giving them the ability to vote might push them to learn and care. Vote for Amendment 30 if you were wise enough to realize the due date to register, and maybe those around you can make a decision for themselves next time, rather than just having to watch.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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