Voter registration a priority for student groups

With less than one week until the deadline to register to vote in Arizona, student organizations are focused on a final push to register students to vote.

The Arizona Students’ Association has been registering students in alongside student governments at state schools.

ASA director Megan Riley said the organization has registered about 4,300 students since the beginning of the fall 2012 semester in combination with student governments around the state.

The last day to register to vote in Arizona before the Nov. 6 general election is Tuesday, Oct. 9. (Aubree Abril/DD)

ASA volunteers had a goal of registering 500 Downtown students to vote between the start of the semester and the general election in November, said ASA volunteer Lizbeth Luna.

Luna, an ASU student majoring in elementary education, said ASA downtown has registered almost 300 students to vote since the first week of September.

Luna said seeing how much politics can affect the lives of students made her register to vote.

“If we don’t take action to make things better for ourselves, it’s just going to get worse,” Luna said.

ASA volunteer and social work freshman Monique Hall said students should vote because they can.

“A lot of the legislation that happens has to do with students,” Hall said. “Anything that has to do with education is going to directly impact us. Anything that has to do with the economy, anything that has to do with anything either locally or nationally impacts students. You have the right to talk and you have the right to vote and say what you want to say, so you should exercise it.”

According to the United States Census Bureau Current Population Survey from November 2008, 53.4 percent of 18-24-year-olds in the U.S. had registered to vote, but only 44.3 percent voted.

Hall said she thinks many young people do not register to vote due to laziness.

“We know students have a harder time registering to vote,” Riley said, adding that it is especially challenging for out-of-state students to register.

In Spring 2012 29.4 percent of ASU students were from out-of-state.

Riley said that getting the identification necessary to vote in Arizona is challenging.

“They don’t take the time to find out (how to register),” she said.

Riley said that ASA has been promoting Arizona’s Permanent Early Voter list, because it makes it easier for students in state to vote.

Students on the Arizona Permanent Early Voter list receive ballots by mail, which makes it simple for busy college students to vote.

Miguel Segura, a criminal justice student registered to vote three years ago. Segura said he has not decided who to vote for this November, and plans to spend time reading what candidates say about different issues.

“It’s important to vote so your voice will be heard,” Segura said.

Journalism student Stephen Hicks attended the Presidential debate viewing at the Walter Cronkite School Wednesday, but said the debate probably would not contribute to his decision of how to vote.

“I think I kind of know who I’m going to vote for going into it,” Hicks said. “I think I know the person who I’m going to vote for that gives us the best chance for America going forward.”

The last day to register to vote in Arizona is Tuesday, Oct. 9. Changemaker Central at the Downtown campus is putting together a last chance voter registration event Monday, Oct. 8 on Taylor Mall.

Students who would like to register to vote in Arizona can do so here.

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