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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

UK organizations play big role registering students to vote in upcoming election

By Taban Flores
University of Kentucky

As the Oct. 9 deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming election neared, people walking through the University of Kentucky campus were likely asked: “Have you registered yet?” Probably more than once.

Many UK student organizations set up booths, handed out forms and registered voters. UK Catalyst, UK NAACP and UK National Association of Black Journalists registered more than 600 UK students to vote on Oct. 2 alone.

“I feel like everyone needs to express their opinion and get their voice out, every vote counts,” said Miranda Tillman, a sophomore at UK who has been registering students to vote. “It’s better to register students to vote on campus because people are on campus every day, so when they see other students registering, it makes them think, OK, why not.”

Registration tables were set up outside of locations with high traffic, including classroom buildings, the student center and cafeterias, as well events such as the Hispanic Heritage Festival. Student organizations were trying to reach as many people as possible.

“Since I am living on campus already, it was a convenience factor for me to register to vote on campus,” said Shawnice Shaw, a UK freshman and first-time voter. “UK has over 20,000 students, so that’s 20,000 potential votes that we would be missing out on. With us having different voter registration booths on campus it helps get more voters.”

In 2010, over a quarter of college students said that they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to register, according to campusvoteproject.org. By providing registration areas on campus, it allows for students to register at a convenient location and for questions to get answered.

“It was pretty quick and only took about five minutes just filling out basic information,” said Justin Clarke, who is a freshman at UK. “I would definitely say that I registered just because it was here on campus.”

However, the registering is just the beginning of the voting process. “I am anxious to go vote just to see what it is like,” said Gary Tsang, a freshman.

In 2008, 89.6 percent of registered voters in the United States actually voted in the presidential election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Everybody’s vote counts, it’s your duty as a citizen to vote,” said Tsang.

Taban Flores is a journalism student at the University of Kentucky.