Registration efforts increase before voter deadline today
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 00:10
Liberal or conservative, students and other members of the community interested in voting in November’s election must register to vote today, as it is the deadline for Florida residents to be eligible for voting.
Across campus, student organizations have been in high gear to get as many students registered as possible, their enthusiasm seen in the increased frequency of students carrying clipboards and holding events to get more registered voters this election year.
“I don’t think a lot of young people have an understanding of how pivotal voting is,” Evan Eastman, a member of USF College Republicans and senior majoring in economics and finance, said. “This is a right that our founders gave us.”
One of the most visible groups in the days before the registration time window closes is a grassroots campaign for Barack Obama called Organizing for America. For the past two weeks, the organization has had a table set up outside the Library every day, working from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
to get more students registered to vote.
“The last few days a lot more students have turned out to register because of the deadline,” Gabriela Leon, a volunteer for the campaign and a senior majoring in criminology, said. “It’s important to get your voice heard.”
Leon also said more than 100 students registered at its table Monday, the day before registration closes for the general election. Organizing for America has also teamed up with student organizations on campus, including College Democrats and Bulls for Obama, to get more volunteers working to gather registrations.
“We’ve really been getting out there,” Erik De Jesus, director of communications for College Democrats and a senior majoring in anthropology, said. “It’s been a final push the last couple of weeks to register students so that they can be eligible to vote.”
Students are eligible to register today for the general election on Nov. 6, as long as they are Florida residents who do not have any criminal or mental restrictions. Citizens can register at any Supervisor of Elections office, public library or state agency that provides public assistance.
“A lot of good work has come from us getting people to register outside the Marshall Student Center, the Library and everywhere else where we were able to reach young people who may need to change their address if they moved on campus or if this is their first time voting,” Colton Canton, president of College Democrats and a junior majoring in political science, said.
To further increase voter eligibility and registration, election offices in Hillsborough County will remain open two extra hours after the close of the business day.
“We’re lengthening our office hours tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. as a courtesy to our residents who may need a little more time getting their application in,” Earl Lennard, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, said in a press release Monday. “Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen a steep increase in new voter applications and address changes from people who have recently moved to Hillsborough County.”