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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Election Day 2008: Who you gonna call?

    Years after the butterfly ballots and hanging chads marred the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, a group of UA student volunteers is setting out to make the voting process as easy as possible.

    Third-year UA law students Emily Kane and Erin Ford both “”feel very passionate about bad elections.”” They formed the Election Protection Team in early September to help answer any questions voters have about casting their ballot and to make sure that voting laws are “”enforced consistently and equitably”” at the polling stations.

    The group partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a national nonprofit organization that oversees Election Protection programs and has expanded to include about 90 legally trained volunteers to help voters on Nov. 4, Ford said.

    The Election Protection Team will send out volunteers on Election Day to assist anyone who has a problem at the polling station and calls their phone number.

    “”It’s really important that students review the ID provisions,”” Ford said. “”If they’re voting at the polls, they need to bring proper identification.””

    The Arizona Voter ID Law has been in place since 2006, but this will be the first presidential election that it affects.

    The law requires that Arizona voters bring a federally issued photo ID with their current address, Kane said.

    Students need to be aware that if the address on their ID does not match the one on their voter registration, they can still present two additional forms of ID to cast a regular ballot, Kane said. This can be anything from a voter registration card to a cell phone bill, but they must be two different forms of identification.

    Paul Metcalf, economics senior and member of the UA Young Democrats, said many students might not know about this law.

    “”Having law students out there to make sure that people who want to vote are able to vote is a great idea,”” he said.

    Freshman Kelly Ott said this is a particularly important election, because “”right now, the country is in a state of change with the war going on and the economy crashing.

    “”Everyone has to go out and vote, so that they can pick a candidate who they believe will lead the country in the right way,”” Ott said.

    An estimated 9 million voters will cast their ballots for the first time on Nov. 4, which “”is likely to be the largest-ever turnout of first-time voters,”” according to an Oct. 23 election report in the Tucson Citizen.

    Tim Richards, a planning graduate, said students face some unique issues when voting because “”most of us are just passing through Tucson, and some may be registered in other states.

    “”While it wasn’t difficult for me to find out how to vote, having an additional resource for students might be helpful,”” he said.

    Ford said she is especially concerned with helping students, because they are part of the 18-to-30 age group that is one of the most underrepresented and “”most unlikely to vote.””

    Kane said what is most important “”is everyone has the right to cast a ballot,”” and if they have a problem, they should let the Election Protection Team know.

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