Student groups register about 2,000 to vote in local elections

More at WSU signed up to vote locally this year than any previous one

Quinton+Berkompas%2C+ASWSU+deputy+director+of+Legislative+Affairs%2C+talks+student+voting+numbers+Friday+in+Chinook.

ALYSSA STANFIELD | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Quinton Berkompas, ASWSU deputy director of Legislative Affairs, talks student voting numbers Friday in Chinook.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

WSU student organizations registered more people on campus to vote since the beginning of the fall semester than any previous year.

ASWSU worked with student organizations it thought would be willing to help register students to vote, said Quinton Berkompas, ASWSU deputy director of Legislative Affairs.

It is in ASWSU’s bylaws to have a voter registration drive, he said.

“This is the first time that we’ve ever done it this large-scale,” Berkompas said.

ASWSU members went to fraternities and sororities and gave out a web link to be able to register online, he said. Berkompas, who also serves as president of Young Democrats, went to classes and passed out forms to register to vote as well.

Young Democrats were on the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall with clipboards to get people registered to vote. The student group registered people in past years but they got more students this year because more volunteers were willing to canvass the mall and it is an election year, said Duncan Thomson, secretary of Young Democrats.

In terms of paper forms, there were 2,142 students who registered, Berkompas said. There is no number for how many students were registered online but he said there would hopefully be numbers for online registration within the next few weeks.

Most people who registered did so through the Young Democrats’ efforts as the group encouraged students to vote for local candidates instead of politicians in their hometown, Thomson said.

“Our selling point would be ‘You’re here nine months out of the year, so why not make a difference here?’ ” Thomson said.

When ASWSU went through the forms to make sure that they were filled out correctly, it determined the number of students who chose to vote in Pullman instead of their hometown was between 1,750 and 2,000 students, Berkompas said.

There are many students who choose not to vote for various reasons, Travis Ridout, professor of government and public policy, said in an email. Some students do not understand the voting procedure and students moving each year may not change their address, he said in the email.

“Some students don’t see the impact that politics has on their lives like they might when they are older,” Ridout said in the email.

When students choose not to vote, they are affected by that decision, he said in the email.

“If students start voting, then politicians start paying attention to the concerns of students,” Ridout said in the email.

Ballots were mailed out Friday in Whitman County. Students who are registered to vote should get it in the mail by Monday or Tuesday. If they do not get their ballot, they should contact the Whitman County Auditor’s Office or ASWSU.