In the final stage of its three-tier voter campaign for the 2008 election, Vote CSU!, the student government non-partisan voter coalition, recorded more than 5,000 names of students who have pledged to vote since the beginning of the coalition’s early voting campaign, started Oct. 20.
In order to promote student awareness about their right to vote and increase the number of students who vote early, Vote CSU! hosted “Pledge to Vote Early,” an event where 192 students who pledged to vote had the opportunity to “pie” the student government president and vice president on the Lory Student Center Plaza Tuesday.
Officials said the event — designed and sponsored by Vote CSU!, the student government, non-partisan voter coalition — was part of the coalition’s final push to get registered voters educated on the ballot issues and out to the polls to vote.
“It’s just something fun that students get involved with and makes the issue of voting more visible,” said Quinn Girrens, Associated Students of CSU vice president. “We’re just making sure students get involved and get out to vote; that’s our goal, that’s what we’re striving for.”
While students who pledged to vote stepped up to the plate to throw pie tins piled high with whipped cream at Taylor Smoot, ASCSU president, as he shouted “Exercise your constitutional muscles,” some said that students shouldn’t need a physical incentive to vote because there are deep-seeded, “intangible” incentives. “I’m voting for change; as far as I’m concerned, this is one of the most important election,” said Kalli Watson, a sophomore psychology major. “It’s almost your duty as a citizen to vote.”
Officials from the U.S. Student Organization, “the country’s oldest and largest national student-led organization” that “amplifies the student voice at the local, state, and national levels,” according to the organization’s Web site, said that there is a “strong correlation” between the number of students who pledge to vote and show up at the polls.
“There’s evidence that shows that if people sign a pledge to vote, they turn out to the polls,” said Israel Garcia, U.S. Student Organization Colorado field organizer. “We know that 81 percent of the people registered to vote will turn out to vote, and pledge efforts increase that number.”
Since the start of the semester, officials said that the voter coalition’s three-tier election platform was focused on voter registration, education and finally, encouraged registered voters to exercise their democratic right to vote at the polls on Election Day.
Vote CSU! officials said that since Oct. 20, the coalition has called and texted students to remind them about the importance of voting in the 2008 election and the benefits of early voting, which started Monday, Oct. 20 and ends on Friday.
“We’re just reminding people to vote,” said Katie Freudenthal, the director of community affairs for ASCSU.
“Early voting numbers are already high and they’re predicting historical turnout, but let’s make that higher.”
As for the future of the coaltion’s voter campaign efforts, officials said that they will continue to host events that educate and actively engage student voters, and emphasize the importance of the student-voter voice until Election Day.
Members of the department of legislative affairs for ASCSU said that they will teach a second Ballot Book Information class in Senate chambers, located across from the ASCSU office in the LSC on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Officials said the one-hour class, open to the public, focuses on the initiatives and referendum on the 2008 Colorado ballot, gives students an opportunity to pose questions about ballot issues, and walk into the polls ready to make informed political decisions.
Senior Reporter Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.