Voting Made Easy

Story by Briana Gruenewald

Through Oct. 13, the Student Senate, in partnership with the College Democrats and College Republicans, will be registering students to vote in time for the Nov. 2 elections.

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs senior Paydon Miller is organizing the effort and said the goal is to make it as easy as possible for students to register.

“Students are habitual non-voters … but they are one of the groups that need the most representation,” Miller said. “If we can get students registered to vote early, the odds of them voting go up exponentially.”

Miller said the mainstay of the push is going to be classroom presentations. Deputized representatives will be entering classrooms, explaining the registration process and allowing students to register right in the classroom. There will also be a booth in Davies Center or the Campus Mall, depending on the weather.

Freshman Jace Kramer is currently not a registered voter but said he is much more likely to vote in the Nov. 2 election if he is offered the opportunity to register in the classroom.

“It would be a good opportunity to take part in something important without the time constraint of having to make my way down to City Hall to register,” Kramer said.

The effort is largely dedicated to students who have never registered. However, students who have registered and voted in past Eau Claire elections but have since moved to new residences will have to register with their new addresses.

“Students are especially hard to register because they are a transient group,” Miller said. “Meaning they don’t have a real set place they live, and things can get really complicated.”

The United Council has set a goal of registering 1700 students by the end of this process. Miller said he is a bit more optimistic and set a personal goal of 2000.

Miller said each student senator is required to do an hour of service each week. Several senators are choosing to help with voter registration to fulfill their service requirement.

Senator Steven Van De Laarschot is one of the senators who chose to get deputized, though fulfilling his service hour was not the only reason.

“Since college students have a reputation of being apathetic and not voting anyway, to get more students to go out and vote is really important,” he said.

Some of the major offices that are on the ticket this election year are state Assembly, state Senate, Congress, United States Senate and governor. Miller said he is looking forward to a large student turnout this year, adding that he hopes students don’t opt to vote from their hometowns via absentee ballots.

“This is important because local elections specifically affect your life way more than the president ever will,” he said. “And if students don’t vote, we don’t get heard; if we don’t get heard, we don’t get represented.”