The registration deadline for the 2008 presidential primaries is approaching fast, and various campus groups have begun drives to maximize student participation.
The Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition, an Associated Students and Office of Student Life-led partnership of student groups, coordinates the drive annually. In addition to making announcements in a few of the larger lecture classes and at on-campus meetings, the VRVC will also be tabling in front of the UCen Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The final day to register is Jan. 22, and the primary election is Feb. 5. Students who were previously registered in their hometown or who have changed addresses in the past year must re-register to become eligible to vote.
A.S. External Vice President of Statewide Affairs and VRVC President Christine Byon said the group hopes to not only encourage students to vote, but also teach them about the election process.
“Our tangible goals [as an organization] are to register as many students as possible, educate them about the process and to be as much of a service and resource to them as possible,” Byon said. “This year, we might be active longer, because there won’t be an election in November, and presidential primaries are in February.”
At their events, the organization will provide registration forms and answer student questions regarding deadlines and election days.
The University of California Students Association, a group that encompasses the student governments of all 10 UC campuses, has declared this week “Don’t Get Tricked… Get Registered” week. UCSA representative Courtney Weaver said her organization is holding similar events at other campuses to register voters statewide.
“The UC Students Association chose to run it this week and it is being run on all the UC campuses,” Weaver said. “Our goal is to increase student voter participation on a statewide level, not just at UCSB.”
Students may register at a variety of on-campus locations, such as the UCen, the Arbor and the Student Resource Building. Students may also register online at www.sa.ucsb.edu/voterreg or call 1-800-345-VOTE.
The VRVC started its voter registration efforts at the beginning of the school year. During Week of Welcome, peer voting advocates spoke at residence hall floor meetings to encourage new students to sign up. So far, over 3,000 students have registered to vote since move-in day.
Fourth-year biology major Jacqueline Sarmiento said the voter registration table made registration easier than the online process.
“I had already filled out the form [to register to vote] online, but that required me to mail in my signature,” Sarmiento said. “I figured coming here [to the voter registration drive table] would make it a lot easier on myself.”