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UCLA Groups Push To Register Goal Of 8,000

This story was written by Carolyn McGough, Daily Bruin
Manning tables strewn with voter registration forms, fliers and dorm addresses, a group of UCLA students staked out on Bruin Walk this week for one reason: time is running out.

The last day for students to register to vote in the November presidential election is Oct. 20.

University of California President Mark Yudof has declared this week UC Student Voter Registration Week.

As the last days wind down, efforts to encourage Bruins to register to vote are escalating.

Two student groups in particular the Undergraduate Students Association Council and the UCLA chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group are among the groups encouraging students to vote this week.

Together, USAC and CALPIRG are members of the Students Vote! Coalition, a collection of graduate and undergraduate students who are working to complete campus initiatives for the school year, said Jesse Melgar, USAC external vice president.

He said it is important for students to vote so that as a university, UCLA stands out.

Its important we have a strong electoral voice, he said.

Melgar expects a lot of students will especially want to register as the week comes to a close and they realize theyre running out of time.

The goal is to register 8,000 students, and were currently at 4,300, he said.

He added that last year before the primary election, they were able to register 450 students in the last day, and thus the coalition will only be increasing efforts to get students to vote as the week closes.

For a long time, students have had the reputation of not voting, said Sarah Dobjensky, the CALPIRG new voters project coordinator.

Dobjensky said students have the opportunity at this critical time to prove that students are politically responsible and to ensure politicians take notice.

CALPIRG has been working on a campaign to encourage voter registration by text messaging reminders, creating a Facebook application, and creating a link to an online voter registration form, she said.

She said the best way to get students to vote is for peers to encourage and remind each other.

Thus, fellow students on Bruin Walk greatly encourage others.

Since the last opportunity to register is midnight on Oct. 20, CALPIRG will be increasing its efforts.

The closer you get, the more people will want to register, she said.

Sean Carroll, a CALPIRG campus organizer, said it is also important to make the registration process enjoyable.

The challenge is just to get people to know that the deadline is coming up, he said.

CALPIRG volunteers will dress according to a theme the next couple of days in an effort to generate interest in registering.

Todays theme is Vote Boat, and CALPIRG members will be dressed as pirates. Thursdays theme is Exercise the Right, with an exercise theme.

Dobjensky said the first challenge is to grab Bruins interest, and from there a dialogue can be opened on the necessity of voting.

We want to make it easy and fun, Carroll said.

But its not just student organizations who are pushing student registration.

Trey Davis, a University of California Office of the President spokesman, said the University of California urges students not only to register, but to stay informed about issues and to ultimately go to the polls and vote on Election Day.

Dobjensky said CALPIRGs efforts would not stop once Voter Registration Week ends.

Voting begins on Nov. 4 at 7 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m., said Richard Patrielli, a Los Angeles County field representative.

Students on the Hill can vote in Hedrick Hall, Rieber Hall and De Neve Plaza.Bruins in the North Village can go to 500 Landfair Ave., 515 Landfair Ave. and 10918 Strathmore Ave.

Bruins need to make themselves heard, Dobjensky said.

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