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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Student gov centers on national elections

ASUA has a stake in the political game — and not just for its own elections in March.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona wants to push students to get involved in voting by supporting campus debates and voting accessibility,

“”There was such buzz (around the 2008 election) that we had lines out the door,”” said ASUA President Emily Fritze. “”It’s always more of a struggle to vote around midterm elections.””

Fritze, who publicized sponsored debates on her blog, felt that emphasizing the connectivity of students with their representatives was important to the process.

The first ASUA-hosted debate was Wednesday’s open Congressional District 7 debate at the Pima Community College Desert Vista campus, in which all four district candidates, incumbent Democrat Raul Grijalva, Republican Ruth McClung, Libertarian George Keane and independent Harley Meyer, attended.

Fritze noted students who care about their representatives will have an easy time accessing those they might be voting for through campus debates.

She also noted that providing the early polling station in the ASUA office was a way to get students excited about the process.

“”The good thing about the polling station is that we have a great relationship with the Pima County Recorder’s Office,”” Fritze said.

Christopher Roads, deputy recorder and registrar of voters at the Pima County Recorder’s Office, noted that since the mid-2000s the early voting place on campus has served a population in need of a closer place to vote.

“”What we have done is looked at the population in geographic regions and put the early voting sites where we have very large populations,”” Roads said when speaking of not supplying a polling place for primary voting in September. “”There was a huge population in the middle of town, particularly around the campus (and) east of campus, which (other polling places) could not serve … and people said, ‘That kind of fit perfectly with our needs.'””

Frtize encouraged students to vote early in the office because the requirements were less stringent than at voting centers on the day of the elections. All students, faculty, and the community that want to utilize the early voting center can cast their ballot with only a name and a signature.

Roads said the early voting sites are designed to make voting more convenient so more people will vote.

Around campus, Roads said, “”there is a big population … and also the people that tend to vote the least.”” He encouraged people to vote early also because the November ballot is filled with many propositions and legislative initiatives to consider.

This polling place “”is an element of UA Votes 2010, a semester-long campaign focusing on voter registration, education and mobilization. This campaign is a part of the statewide Arizona Student Vote Coalition where ASUA and student governments across the state are working with the Arizona Students’ Association and Arizona PIRG to civically engage students,”” according to an ASUA press release from earlier this month.

The next debate sponsored by ASUA will occur on campus on Monday between Congressional District 8 candidates Democrat Gabrielle Giffords and Republican Jesse Kelly.

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