Take advantage of early voting

U students can’t wait for Election Day.

According to Associated Students of the University of Utah Government Relations Board Director Andrew Jensen, voters are casting ballots at the U’s early voting stations at a rate of about 700 a day. If the pace stays steady, the booths are projected to serve roughly 6,100 early voters by Friday, the last day the booths are open. Jensen said about 60 percent of early voters have been U students, with 40 percent being members of the community.

Even besides the success of early voting on campus, ASUU has run a good voter registration campaign. The U was recently ranked eighth in the nation for voter registration of the 1,200 schools that participated in a competition sponsored by Ultimate College Bowl. The sustained effort and student involvement has built an election-conscious atmosphere at the U.

Coming from past years, when no early voting stations were available on campus, this year’s voting efforts have been a success. ASUU has done students a service with its admirable voter registration and awareness efforts.

Although early voting has been an achievement, the work isn’t over. According to the Fall 2008 University of Utah Enrollment Credit Summary, the U has 28,211 students enrolled. Assuming students continue voting early at the same rate, and 60 percent of early voters continue to be students, approximately 3,660 students will vote early. That leaves 24,551 students. Students who have not voted early or plan to vote on Election Day shouldn’t put it off until it is too late.

According to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s 2004 General Elections Report, 135,949 votes were cast for John Kerry with 215,728 for George W. Bush in Salt Lake County in the 2004 presidential election. The U’s 28,000 votes could make a serious dent in this year’s election if they are used.

Students should take advantage of early voting stations on campus now, instead of wishing they had while stuck in an hour-long line Nov. 4.

The station is in Union Room 161 and will be open from noon to 7 p.m. until Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday.

[email protected]