This story was written by Yusra Tekbali, Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona Students' Association, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and Arizona Student Public Interest Research Group will kick off their week long effort today to encourage students to vote in the Arizona primary and national presidential elections.
Their goal is to increase the presence of young voters at the polls. Volunteers will be encouraging students to sign their pledge to vote, petition and participate in a practice poll, where students can vote for their favorite candidate, said Christiana Mercer, campus organizer for the UA chapter of Arizona PIRG.
Early ballot request forms will also be available for students to vote online, Mercer said.
Between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. student volunteers on the UA Mall will tally student votes on a board visual called "America's Next Top Model Citizen," a play on the name of the popular TV show "America's Next Top Model," said Communications Sophomore Christine Filer, an intern for the UA's AZPIRG.
The poll will help gauge which presidential candidate is most popular among UA students, she said.
"While our goal is to get more youth and more students out there, we are definitely most interested in representing the opinion of students on our campus, " she said.
While the deadline for voting in the primary elections has passed, it's still important for students to follow election coverage so that they can make an informed opinion come election time in November, Mercer said.
The Arizona Primaries will be held Feb. 5. The national presidential elections take place Nov. 4.
Arizona has 10 electoral votes and is considered a battleground state by Democrats and Republicans. In the last presidential primary Arizona voted Democrat and in 2000 Republican.
"If we don't vote, the youth demographic won't be taken into account and politicians won't want to address our opinions and needs," Filer said.
Sara Pat Badgley, a family studies junior, the second vice chair of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans and former wire editor for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, said students should take advantage of this election in particular.
"This election is unprecedented as far as having no incumbents and no real front runner," she said. "You have candidates from the far right and left and we really get to choose what kind of Democrat or what kind of Republican we want in office."
Ryan Burchell, a political science senior and president of the UA chapter of Students for Barack Obama said it's a shame more of his peers don't care about elections.
"It's unfortunate most students don't vote in primaries and don't caucus. Arizona is playing a pivotal role in this primary, and all of us should get out and vote."
© 2008 Arizona Daily Wildcat via U-WIRE