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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA’s early polling site boasts Pima County’s highest voter turnout

With 362voters, the UA’s early voting polling station was the most used site in Pima County this election season by the time it closed Friday.

The location had 362 of Pima County’s 3,803 pre-election-day ballots as of noon Friday, according to the Pima County Recorder’s Office.

The site was organized by Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Erin Hertzog with the cooperation of the Pima County Recorder’s Office and was run from the ASUA Office in the Student Union Memorial Center.

“”It’s great because there’s not a line, and it’s right on campus,”” Hertzog said.

The general election site at the UA has been

There are people who are really looking forward to voting. They’re ready.

– Ben Unger, national field director for the New Voter’s Project

steadily busy since it opened Oct. 11, with an average of about 20 voters a day, excluding Friday, Hertzog said.

People usually use early polling and mail-in ballots to make the voting process more convenient and to avoid crowds on voting day, said Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez.

About 172,000 Pima County voters went to pre-election-day sites or requested early ballots, Rodriguez said.

ASUA, along with the New Voter’s Project and the Arizona Students’ Association, formed a nonpartisan coalition, UA Votes 2006, to encourage students to vote.

The group has set up tables on the UA Mall, registered voters and placed banners and flyers around campus, among other methods to promote student participation in this year’s elections.

“”People are busy,”” said Ben Unger, the national field director for the New Voter’s Project. “”They don’t always think, ‘How can I make sure and vote a month from now?'”” Because of this, Unger said representatives from his program have to work hard to get students involved, especially because many are from other districts and states and need education on where and how to vote.

There has been an 11 percent increase in national youth voter turn out this year, and more than 1,000 UA students have registered to vote, according to the New Voter’s Project.

UA Votes 2006 encourages students to cast their ballots so that politicians will pay attention to the needs and values of higher
education establishments, Unger said.

“”There are people who are really looking forward to voting,”” Unger said. “”They’re ready.””

Melissa Burstein, a sophomore majoring in Spanish and Portuguese, heard about early polling from an online group on

“”I felt very proud dropping the envelope,”” Burstein said.

Burstein said she decided to vote early because her schedule on Tuesdays is very full, and she wanted to make sure she would have time to make her vote count.

Jennifer Rowell, an engineering management junior who visited the early polling site Friday, said she would likely be busy on voting day and voted early “”just to get it out of the way.””

For voting locations and information, visit the Pima County Recorder’s Office Web site at or call 740-4330.

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