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October 12, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Decline in young people's voter registration

Grass-roots-level view challenges stereotypes

In his article titled “New-voter registration way down from 2008 levels,” Brian Rosenthal implies that voter-registration efforts on college campuses this year were relatively unsuccessful [Seattletimes.com, Oct. 8]. From reading the article it could also be assumed that students are apathetic toward this year’s elections. This is simply not the case.

As director of legislative affairs for the Associated Students of WSU, I have been responsible for our organization’s registration efforts. In Pullman alone we had 1,776 students register or update their registrations and in Vancouver nearly the entire incoming freshman class was registered. This is the most successful voter-registration drive that we have documented and students are more excited than ever to vote.

In addition, the article includes registration data up to Sept. 26. Although this is the most recent data available, it is unfair to draw assumptions from this round of data. Here at WSU we were most successful in the last week or so leading up to the registration deadline. In one event alone on Sept. 27 we were able to register 318 students.I believe that this view from the grass-roots level provides a better understanding of the efforts that have been undertaken.

— Tristan Hanon, Pullman

Increase in undergraduate voters at Seattle University

My name is Nicole Gaddie and I’m the student body president of Seattle University. I recently read “New-voter registration way down from 2008 levels.” I would like to voice that even though voter registration might be down for other colleges, SU’s numbers have never been higher.

We ranked second in Washington for voter registrations proportionate to school population and first out of all private schools. Our student government partnered with the Political Science Club and the Washington Bus to register 552 new student voters. That’s 12 percent of our undergraduate population.

Even though the voter-registration deadline has passed, our efforts have not stopped. We are now running a “Get out the Vote” campaign to encourage students to send in their ballots. We’ll also be hosting a huge election results viewing party on Nov. 6 for students, faculty and staff.

Less than half of 18-to-24-year-olds voted in the last election. If all college students voted, the policies in our country could dramatically change. I’m proud to say that SU has worked hard to create opportunities for students to register.

— Nicole Gaddie, Seattle


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