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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Editorial: Raising Arizona

    If you’ve got a calendar or planner, open it right now. Grab a big red marker, and flip to October 2008. Find Oct. 6 and draw a bold exclamation point. Put a star in the box, or a funny picture or a four-letter word – anything to grab attention. Don’t worry – you’ll thank us later.

    This week’s Super Tuesday tsunami of presidential primaries may not have done much to clear up two contests for the presidential nomination, but it did clear up one longstanding myth college students ought to be proud to elucidate: that young voters are apathetic and complacent.

    Young people turned out in droves for the primary polls in the 24 states holding primary elections on Super Tuesday, and played a decisive role in several state primaries, according to exit-poll data collected by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a non-profit research group that follows participation trends among young voters. Super Tuesday turnout for voters between the ages of 18 and 30 quadrupled in Tennessee, tripled in Oklahoma, Missouri and Georgia, and doubled in Massachusetts.

    In fact, Massachusetts had the highest youth-turnout rate in the nation, with a full 25 percent of young voters participating in party primaries. More important, youth turnout broke double-digits in each of the 14 states tracked by the researchers.

    Well, almost. There was one notable exception: Arizona, where a meager 7 percent of young voters managed to lug themselves to the polls Tuesday, compared with 23 percent of those over 30. What happened to the tidal wave of youth participation everyone expected?

    There are a few reasons Arizona’s youth may not have hit the magic 10 percent mark. Arizona has stricter voter-ID requirements than other states, and our closed-primary system plays a part in discouraging young voters during our presidential preference elections, since many have no party affiliation. Plus, students here at the UA, many of whom aren’t residents of Pima County or Arizona, have scores of convenient excuses for failing to vote. Official polling places (if still registered back at home) are across town, in another city or another state. Vote-by-mail systems can be
    arcane and confusing. Registration deadlines take a back seat to due dates for term papers. Students without cars are immobile, and classes are often smack in the middle of prime polling hours.

    That’s why it’s so important for students to stay on top of their game when it comes to voting. If you regret your excuse for failing to vote Tuesday, now is the time to register.

    Oct. 6 (you did mark it, right?) is the deadline to register as an Arizona voter for the general elections on November 4 – the ones that will actually elect the next president of the United States. It’s quick and easy to register in Arizona, especially if you have a state driver’s license, which means you can register online. Register now, or register when you’re reminded by that big red mark. But ditch the excuses and commit to voting this November. We think Arizona’s youth can do a little bit better.

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