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UA News
Registration drive lures 945 to sign up to vote

By Cyndy Cole
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday October 8, 2002

Voter registration for the November elections wraps up with some success

Using inflatable obstacle courses, a band and pounding the pavement around the UA Mall, student government and affiliated organizations registered 945 students and staff to vote in a six-week campaign that ended yesterday.

Yesterday was the last day to register to vote in Arizona.

Though the student government's efforts were directed at the segment of the population

least likely to vote, Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Doug Hartz said he wishes

registration rates had been a little higher.

"Our numbers aren't as encouraging as we hoped they'd be, but maybe that's because a lot of people are registered or have registered elsewhere," Hartz said.

Between volunteers on the Mall with clipboards, and a voter registration drive at CatFest alongside an inflatable obstacle course and a Slip-N-Slide-like toy, ASUA got 700 students to register to vote, said Jenny Rimsza, taskforce director of the student lobbyist group Arizona Students' Association.

ASUA had aimed to register 1,000 students to vote.

Students groups competed to see who could register the most members.

Coed professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi won with 55 registrations.

Alpha Kappa Psi President Anthony Jensen called the voter registration drive "a great way to get our name out there and encourage our students to do their civic duty."

NAU and ASU held similar registration drives.

ASU held "Voterpalooza," which was a registration drive with a dunk tank and a band, said Associated Students of Arizona State University government relations director Matt Schuh.

ASUA may be tying more student events to voter registration drives in the future, Hartz said.

About 150 students registered to vote at CatFest, he added.

The next step for Rimsza and Hartz, and the more than 50 student volunteers working on campaign events, is to get students to the polls.

Rimsza is heading a telephone campaign to call 1,000 students who are registered to vote and ask them to head to the polls.

College-age voter turnout in Arizona elections has hovered around 8 percent for the past several years, Peter Goudinoff, a political science lecturer and former Arizona state senator, said in September.

ASUA will be shuttling students to the polls from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for election day on Nov. 5th. Students can catch a ride to polling places located in most of Southern Arizona, including Nogales, Rimsza said.

There's a campaign party in the Union Room, third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Nov. 5.

More than just doing its civic duty, Hartz wants the UA community to be a stronger political force in telling state government officials to protect UA funding.

"Every student really matters, and that's the thing we're trying to communicate this year," Hartz said. "Hopefully, our faculty and staff will be activists. I know a lot of them are already registered to vote. They're really going to help our efforts at the state level by getting out, getting involved and taking a stance."

Students on the street had mixed responses to Rimsza and Hartz's plans.

Psychology sophomore Elizabeth Haim registered to vote in May.

"(Students) don't realize the potential influence a mass-group could do to influence politicians," she said.

Theater arts graduate student Jeremy Guyott isn't registered to vote in Arizona. He said he plans to vote by absentee ballot in Missouri.

"I think college students don't pay much attention (to voting)," he said. "They don't realize the importance of it."

Jose Ceja contributed this report.


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