Student leaders, state organization encourage student voter registration

Students can register to vote online or through a voter engagement hub on campus



Students can have a big impact politically, which can influence things going on in their lives, said Zack Turner, executive director of the Washington Student Association.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

ASWSU, Young Democrats and the Washington Student Association are encouraging student voter registration using social media and a voter engagement hub.

Voting is important because it is how politicians are chosen, Young Democrats President Duncan Thomson said.

There is a direct impact for residents voting in local elections, Thomson said. Voting counts a lot more because fewer people vote in local elections. 

Young Democrats are encouraging students to register to vote because young people tend to vote less than other age groups, he said. 

Students have historically been disenfranchised and it has been a systemic problem for a while, Zack Turner, Washington Student Association executive director, said. 

Turner said students can have a big impact politically, which can influence things going on in their lives. 

In addition, civics are not taught very well in K-12 education, which can lead to people not having the knowledge to vote or understanding the importance of voting, Turner said. 

Students may not vote because they do not have the access to vote, he said. Students are moving constantly and that makes it difficult to change voter addresses. 

Some students are registered to vote and receive their ballots at their parent’s house and their parents can sometimes forget to send the ballots to them, so they don’t vote, Turner said. 

Young Democrats are also using social media like Twitter and Instagram to encourage students to register to vote, Thomson said.

People need to register and keep their address up to date, he said. As long as people are registered and follow directions on the envelope the process is easy.

ASWSU has been engaging students on social media to register to vote, he said. They have been posting graphics with information on ways students can get registered to vote in Washington state. 

ASWSU is non-partisan and the information provided can be found on the Center for Civic Engagement website, said ASWSU Vice President Sean Doster. 

“If you’re a student and those issues are relevant to you, you’re going to want to vote for someone who views that issue in the same way,” Doster said.

ASWSU is working with the CCE and coordinating with the Whitman County auditor’s office for a voter engagement hub, Doster said.

Doster said a state law was passed a while back requiring universities to have voter engagement hubs on campus.

The hub will open Oct. 26, eight days before election day, according to an education act from the secretary of state.

On Nov. 3, which is election day, WSU Pullman’s student engagement hub will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Students can register to vote and vote that same day, Turner said. 

Students will be able to print out their ballot and turn it in, he said. There will also be voter guides students can use when they are voting.

Safety precautions will be implemented, including social distancing, the use of masks and constant cleaning of areas, Turner said. 

More information about student register registration can be found on the CCE’s website