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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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ASUU scores big with VoteProject

By Oakley Gordon

Earlier this month, I attended the National College Conference for Political Engagement at Harvard as one of four delegates from the U. Almost an entire day of the conference was devoted to the topic of how to run voter registration drives on college campuses.

As I and the delegates from dozens of other universities were lectured on how to register large numbers of students to vote, I was struck by two things. First, that every mass registration tactic and strategy that we discussed was already being applied at the U, and second, that we seemed to be the only school represented at the conference that had an effective voter registration drive on campus.

I’m not complaining, of course. The credit for this goes almost entirely to VoteProject, the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s non-partisan student-run voter registration program. I hadn’t fully appreciated how well this program has performed for the past few months as it registered students to vote in the upcoming historic election. VoteProject has registered more than 1,600 students since the school year began and is on track to register many more before the mail-in registration deadline Oct. 6.

While many schools rely on partisan student groups or coalitions of partisan student groups to run registration drives, VoteProject is a strictly non-partisan program, run not by a partnership of the College Democrats and the College Republicans, but by the student government, ASUU. This grants VoteProject several advantages that are not enjoyed by voter registration drives on other campuses comprised of coalitions of partisan groups. It allows VoteProject to have leaders dedicated to running the registration drive instead of pursuing a partisan agenda. It also forces partisan student groups, such as my own, to the periphery of the registration effort, which allows VoteProject to avoid the internal partisan conflict that affects other bipartisan voter registration efforts.

Every U student should be proud of VoteProject. The College Democrats have endorsed and supported VoteProject all semester and I encourage the College Republicans to join us in providing volunteers for the final week of VoteProject’s registration drive. I can’t think of a better way for our two clubs to spend their time and efforts.

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Editor’s Note8212;Oakley Gordon, the president of the U College Democrats, recently traveled to Cambridge, Mass. along with four other U students to take part in the National College Conference for Political Engagement at Harvard University from Sept. 19 to 21.

Oakley Gordon

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