This story was written by Natalie Messina, The Daily Reveille
While some students want their voices to be heard in the political realm, not all are taking the time to register to vote.
Louisiana statutes require eligible voters to register 30 days before an election to participate.
Some students regret missing the Sept. 20 deadline to register for Saturday's Gubernatorial Primary Election.
Rachelle Ross, 19-year-old biology sophomore at Louisiana State University, registered this past week to vote. She said she kept putting it off and was upset she missed the deadline and cannot participate in the midterm election.
"Registering to vote is a necessity, and young people cannot complain about the political process if they do not vote," she said.
According to data provided by the Office of the Secretary of State, young voters ages 18 to 20 make up 3.4 percent of registered voters in Louisiana while the next age group, 21 to 34, makes up 25.4 percent of registered voters.
The statistics show registered voters 35 to 44 years old represent 18.5 percent while 45- to 54-year-olds make up 20.2 percent. The data also reveals individuals 55 to 64 years old make up 15. 4 percent of registered voters and people over the age of 65 make up 17.1 percent.
Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said he is concerned there are not more 18- to 24-year-old voters registered in Louisiana. He said, however, he has seen increased interest among college students about the political process and getting involved. Running for secretary of state re-election, Dardenne's campaign encourages voter registration and participation at universities throughout Louisiana. He said they have an active voter outreach program that talks to students and university political organizations.
"The program holds mock elections and gives out information on why to vote and how to vote," he said.
Andrew Reilly, registered voter and mass communication freshman, said his high school emphasized the importance of registering to vote.
"In high school, we had fake polls for students to get first-hand experience with what the voting process is like," he said.
University organizations have also been working to advance young voter registration in Louisiana.
Student Government's executive branch held voter registration drives in September in Free Speech Alley.
Adam Parker, assistant director of external affairs, said many different campaigns have contacted SG since the beginning of the summer.
"We have done our best to find them a group of students who want to listen to their issues," he said.
The College Republicans invited U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal to a rally in the Student Union. Diana Ford, marketing sophomore, said she is a registered voter and attended the rally. She said Jindal stressed the impact young voters can have in the political process.
The College Republicans also administered voter registration forms in Free Speech Alley during the student organization fair on Sept. 5. President Paul Dietzel said they wanted to give students plenty of time to register.
Luke White, president of College Democrats, said the organization works to increase student voter registration and participation by registering students to vote and inviting different candidates to speak at their public meetings. Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and State Sen. Walter Boasso were two candidates who came to campus to speak. White said the College Democrats will host another rally Friday on the Parade Ground to get students to participate in the election. White said multiple candidates are expected to show.
"This story appears courtesy of UWIRE, a news service powered by student journalists at more than 800 universities. To learn more, visit UWIRE.com."
© 2007 The Daily Reveille via U-WIRE