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U. Minnesota Residence Hall Students Might Not Be Registered To Vote

This story was written by David Introwitz, Minnesota Daily

Economics freshman Kirsten Johnson registered to vote for the upcoming election during the the University of Minnesota Welcome Week in September, but for all she knows, shes still not registered.

She never received a confirmation card telling her she had been registered and where her polling place was going to be.

Ive been thinking about trying to register again, she said.

Johnson isnt alone. A campuswide e-mail last week warned residence hall students who signed up to vote during Welcome Week that if they havent gotten a confirmation of their voting status in the mail, their registration cards might not have been received by the Secretary of States office.

The deadline for pre-registering was Oct. 14.

Welcome Week coordinator James Liberman said the only group that officially worked with U. Minnesota during Welcome Week to register students to vote was the Minneosta Public Interest Research Group.

Liberman said he was contacted over the summer by a number of groups, including groups from various political candidates and other nonprofits, but the university wanted to keep it centralized and wanted to use a well-known group.

MPIRG campus organizer Joe Eggers said 99.9 percent of students who signed up through the organization are registered to vote.

Were telling people theyre registered to vote, Eggers said. I dont know if theyre going to get a card.

If students arent getting their cards, Deputy Manager of Hennepin County Elections Kurt Hoffman said its because the Secretary of States office is overwhelmed with the sheer volume of incoming registrations.

Theyre going out in small numbers, Hoffman said. Its just a fact that there have been so many registrations that they have gotten behind with mailing it out.

Eggers said it normally takes three weeks for cards to be delivered in the mail, but with the mass number of new registrations this year, theyre taking anywhere from four to six weeks and sometimes longer.

More than 80 percent of eligible voters in Minnesota are now registered, Eggers said, an all time record.

Still, Hoffman said if students arent sure whether theyre registered to vote, they should call the appropriate Election Center phone number and have them confirm it. Although the confirmation cards are useful to have because they tell where an individuals polling place is, Hoffman said theyre notrequired to vote.

Elections judge Tim OBrien , who volunteered to register student voters before the state deadline, said if students havent received their cards, they should expect the worst. They may have to wait in line to register on Election Day.

Students have to prove who they are, and they have to prove where they live, OBrien said.

To register to vote on Election Day, residence hall students must bring a drivers license, a student identification card and a bill for electric, water, gas, telephone or cable television services within 30 days of the election that has their name and current address on it.

Voters registering day-of can also prove their residency by bringing another registered voter with them who can vouch for where they live.

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