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AZ Students “Storm the Dorms” to Turn Out Voters

October 25, 2010

PHOENIX - Young voter turnout has surged in each of Arizona's last three general elections, and student leaders at the state's universities are working to keep the momentum going. The Arizona Student Vote Coalition has registered voters online and in-person, and conducted a massive text-out-the-vote effort to encourage participation.

Coalition co-chair Michael Wong says pledges to vote are also being collected.

"We found that competition between the universities tends to drive up turnout and enthusiasm about voting. So, each of the major universities is having a competition to see who can get the most folks pledged to vote."

The coalition is also seeking on-campus polling places. ASU Tempe has an early-voting site hosted by the student government. Wong, who is a vice president in the ASU Tempe student government, urges voters of all ages to vote early, by this Friday, and avoid strict ID hassles and lines at the polls.

He believes that when voting starts at an early age, the benefits last forever.

"We've discovered that once you start voting, you vote for life. It becomes a regular habit, so it's important to get it started as early as possible."

As the generation that will be most affected by some of the nation's most pressing issues, Wong says young people share many of the same concerns as older voters.

"The economy, jobs after college, or jobs right now, immigration policy, clean energy; these are things that students are just as concerned about."

Wong doesn't know if this year's turnout rate for young voters will be higher than in 2008, but he thinks people will be surprised.

"You know, I'm not going to say that we're going to exceed the presidential election thing, but I think that enthusiasm's a lot higher than people are expecting."

The Arizona Student Vote Coalition is a nonpartisan effort of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, the Arizona Student Association, and student governments at the state universities.



Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ