Oct 052008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

One by one, 236 people entered campus Friday and walked away registered to vote, leaving behind them this election season’s most successful voter registration drive sponsored by Vote CSU!, CSU’s non-partisan voter registration coalition.

The Rockin’ Registration event, coordinated by Vote CSU! and co-sponsored by the Association for Student Activity Programming, was the highlight of Voter Blitz, the final weeklong push to register 10,000 students to vote by the national deadline on Oct. 6 at 5 p.m.

On a national level, officials said the CSU coalition rates in the “top ten” of higher education campus coalitions that have registered the highest percentage of the college or university’s student population.

Since the start of the school year, Vote CSU! alone has registered more than 3,000 people. Other on-campus voter registration groups, which include Students for Barack Obama and Progressive Future, have registered an estimated 3,000 students.

Rockin’ Registration

About 50 people worked or volunteered for Rockin’ Registration to register the largest number of students in a Vote CSU! event this year.

ASAP paid Denver band The Heyday to play at the event. The two other featured local artists, Joel Tromberg and Patchwork Blue, volunteered their time for free.

“We wanted to create an environment where people would hang out,” said Jesse Casaubon, ASAP coordinator for the contemporary issues committee. “We brought the Campus Republicans to campus along with the Young Democrats so students could stop and ask questions about the candidates and registration.”

Students said they appreciated the additional registration opportunity and reflected on the importance of the youth vote in the 2008 election.

“I’m here to register because I want to have a voice in this election,” said David Louden, a senior health and exercise science major, who registered at the event.

Katie Freudenthal, director for community affairs for the Associated Students of CSU, said the timing of the event in relation to the national deadline helped in the event’s success.

“I think the Vote Blitz strategy was definitely the way to go, the urgency made people register,” Freudenthal said. “It was the right strategy because we had never registered 236 people in one day. It’s exciting that we’re the leader on campus, the leader in the state and we’re up there in the nation.”

Vote CSU! will be on the Plaza Monday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to register students right up to the national deadline.

Voter Blitz

Over the course of the weeklong Voter Blitz, about 200 people turned out to help Vote CSU! with their registration efforts that included but were not limited to the following events:

Storm the Dorms (door-to-door registration in the residence halls)

Phone banking

Registration at the Homecoming Concert

Co-sponsorship of the CSU men’s hockey game on Friday, Oct. 3

Registration at the football game on Saturday, Oct. 4

While some volunteered from the Ram Leadership Team, ASCSU and the Black Student Alliance, the majority were students at large recruited by Vote CSU!.

After the coalition visited classrooms for several weeks and collected names of students interested in volunteering, they realized that they needed more help.

That’s where the New Voters Project, a non-profit, non-partisan subsection of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group working with Vote CSU!, stepped in and provided money to recruit paid registration positions.

With the additional incentive, Vote CSU! added about 35 additional hands to the registration campaign.

Ashley Boli, a freshman political science major and Vote CSU! volunteer, said that she was excited to help the coalition because of her interest in politics.

“I think everyone should vote because that’s what a democracy is all about,” Boli said.

Future Plans

After the last student signs the last registration form at 5 p.m. Monday, Vote CSU! will switch its focus to voter education until the election on Nov. 4.

Vote CSU! will work with Get Out the Vote, a national, non-partisan “voter empowerment and information source,” according to the Get Out the Vote Web site.

The goal of this partnership is to encourage students to get out to the polls after registration and educate students on what they’re voting for.

“I don’t think you should register to vote if you don’t know what you’re voting for,” Louden said. “If you’ve educated yourself and you believe in what you vote for, then you can vote.”

Senior Reporter Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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