Elections are less than a month away and as many students prepare to vote once again, some are getting ready to pick names, decide on propositions and cast their ballots for the first time. Before students can vote though, they must first register — and that’s where Cal Poly’s student government is looking to help.
Associated Students Inc, (ASI) will target these first-time voting students with a registration drive, beginning today. The drive, which aims to register students before the upcoming election, occurs once every two years, generally coinciding with city, state and national elections. It will take place every day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Union Plaza until Oct. 22, the voter registration deadline.
ASI is looking to help students become more educated and active in the political process, ASI President Katie Morrow said.
“The college-age population has the lowest voter turnout, and we would like to change that,” Morrow said. “Our goal is to provide students with convenient access for registering, becoming educated and voting.”
And ASI hopes the drive will dramatically increase the percentage of registered students on campus.
ASI Chief of Staff Katie Brennan, who is in charge of organizing the registration drive, said the goal of the drive this year is to register more than it did in the most recent drive in 2010. That year, the drive registered approximately 14 percent of Cal Poly students, a record among California State University schools, Brennan said.
“We haven’t even started yet, and we’ve already had students come in and turn in cards, so the word’s obviously already getting out there, which is great,” Brennan said.
To help raise awareness of registration, ASI representatives will also be conducting several special registration drive events, Brennan said.
On top of the time spent in the UU Plaza, volunteers will also be present at other campus spots, such as Campus Market on Thursdays, 19Metro Station on Oct. 9 and 15 and a late night event at Vista Grande Café on Oct. 16 from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Registering at the drive is a simple process, Brennan said.
“The most important thing is just to have your driver’s license (and) know all your personal information,” Brennan said. “We’ll be able to help with everything else if you have any questions.”
One question raised this year regarding the drive is a question of procedure and confidentiality, especially in light of the recent voter registration scandal in which 650 students were illegally registered as Republicans without their consent.
Brennan said such issues are not going to happen at the ASI drive. All student government members were required to attend a training session on proper voter registration card procedure, and the group has been working closely with the city voting office to ensure nothing similar happens.
“We can’t afford any of that scandal or issue,” Brennan said.
Overall, Brennan said she hopes there will be a large turnout at the drive, because she feels it is important for students to vote and become educated.
“Students are just as important as any other voter in America or in our county,” Brennan said. “We’re a huge constituency in our city, so it’s just important to be educated and make sure that our voices are heard.”
Kaytlyn Leslie contributed to this article.