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U. Missouri Campus Organizations Work To Register Students To Vote

This story was written by Katrina Mehl, The Maneater

The deadline to register to vote in Missouri is Wednesday, and campus organizations are working to remind students.

The University Bookstore is hosting an Associated Students of the University of Missouri event called "Make Your Vote Roar!" this week through Wednesday to give students a chance to register to vote in Boone County. ASUM also handed out free T-shirts, offered applications for absentee ballots and allowed them to verify their registration.

Since June, ASUM has registered more than 1,500 students and will continue to offer registration opportunities through Wednesday. Their table is set up from noon to 1 p.m., but students can also register at the ASUM office located at A022 Brady Commons until 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Boone County Clerk's office will allow voting registration until 5 p.m.

On Monday, Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren spoke at Brady Commons about the importance of voters verifying their registration, which can be done on the Boone County Clerk Web site.

"What a lot of people have done is fill out a form and assume they're registered to vote," Noren said.

Students for Barack Obama is also working this week so that as many students as needed can register with them before the deadline, and they have set up tables to register voters and sign up volunteers in Brady Commons, Memorial Union and at Speaker's Circle.

"Voter Registration is important to young people because it is often their first time to vote," ASUM Executive Director Clint Birdsong said.

Organizations like Students for Barack Obama and the MU College Republicans help to give information to students who are voting for the first time.

MU College Republicans President Jonathan Ratliff said ASUM attends their events and registers students that want to.

"We believe it's a more fair and balanced way," Ratliff said. "We think registering is a non-partisan issue, especially in the state of Missouri where we don't register by party,"

Birdsong said their goal was not to achieve a certain number of persons registered.

"We don't want to force people to register," he said. "We're trying to promote responsible voting. We're not just about registering, but also providing a place with information, a place where students can apply for absentee ballots and get them notarized and turned in."

Noren said since January more than 16,000 new voters have registered in Boone County, and 9,200 were between the ages of 18 and 24. She said the involvement of student groups and university administration has been "phenomenal" in assisting with voter registration drives.

She said she does not know of another college or university that has offered as much access to students as the administration and student groups at MU this year.

"There's no place else in the country," Noren said.