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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ASA backs voting bill

The Arizona Students’ Association enlisted students across the state to push new legislation to a vote before the legislature went on break. Students were also responsible for drafting the legislation.

Daniel Hernandez, senior ASA fellow, said the UA was one of the strongest groups in getting House Bill 2668, which calls for universities and students to increase voter registration and voting opportunities for students on Arizona campuses.

“”We actually contacted about 13,000 students for the call to action,”” Hernandez said. “”In one hour, we were able to get 100 students to successfully call in and leave messages.””

The bill, called Voting Information in Post-secondary Institutions, has bipartisan support and sponsors. It passed in the House 42 to 15 and the Senate Education, Accountability and Reform Committee before going to the Senate Thursday night.

Hernandez said the bill might have died without a final push, so they called students into action.

It was because of this, Hernandez said, the Senate voted and passed the bill before the end of legislative session.

ASA spoke directly to students, saying “”if passed, the bill could provide enormous resources for you as a student voter (i.e. opportunities to both register and vote easily on campus, policies that give you the same legal rights as employees to receive an excused absence from class to vote and university commitment to making you aware of the deadlines and requirements etc.)””

Sent by Robyn Nebrich, an organizing director for ASA, the call to action was made to pass the bill, which “”establishes a commitment to preparing our new voters which will increase vote turnout for young people and thus increase (student) voice in the state.””

Elma Delic, UA board chair of ASA, was one of the students who called state senators on Thursday.

“”I think the call to action just shows the successes of ASA as a lobbying body for students,”” Delic said. “”We’re pretty confident that the governor is going to sign it. So, the next steps are making sure that it’s implemented especially since 2010 is a big year for education in Arizona.””

Delic said after the hopeful passage of the bill, ASA’s future lies in educating students about the November 2010 elections and getting students to vote in May’s special election. On the ballot will be Proposition 100, a temporary one-cent sales tax increase, that would last three years. Some of the money from Proposition 100 would fund education.

As far as this bill is concerned, however, both Delic and Hernandez said students were an essential part of HB 2668 now being on its way to Gov. Jan Brewer’s office.

“”She hasn’t had any opposition to it so far and we are just going to keep our ear to the ground and see if there are any potential problems,”” Hernandez said.””It got its final up or down vote and if that hadn’t happened the work that had been put into this bill by countless students would have been lost. There would have been no movement forward if it hadn’t been for students.””

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