United Council leads voter registration drive

A voter registration drive by the student lobbying group United Council has yielded approximately 1,350 registered student voters from UW-Eau Claire, organizers said.

That puts Eau Claire in fourth place in a UW System-wide effort that collectively registered roughly 12,000 students, said Taylour Johnson, organizing and communications director for United Council.

“That’s making some big progress,” Johnson said, adding that Wisconsin’s same-day voter registration bodes well for students who are not yet registered.

Only UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Stevens Point registered more voters than Eau Claire, Johnson said.

Eau Claire also registered 550 students in one day-the System-wide record.

Elise Hallock, secretary of Student Senate and former United Council delegation leader, said registration is only the first step in a process of encouraging voter turnout.

United Council and students affiliated with it are now waging an educational campaign to encourage students to actually head to the polls Nov. 7.

United Council said its drive is aimed at making student issues more central to Wisconsin politics, and possibly spurring the state Legislature to re-invest in higher education.

Student clout will grow with higher turnout, Hallock said, no matter what voters’ political priorities are.

“Students are going to have more power,” she said, “regardless of if they vote on educational issues.”