Competition encourages students to vote

A statewide competition is currently going on to see which educational institution can sign the most people up to vote. Each person who pledges to vote will earn the school two points, and every person who registers to vote will earn one point.

The winning school will receive a trophy. Weber State University won the competition back in 2010.

“A lot of times students think, ‘What does my opinion matter, it won’t make that big of a difference,’” said Chase Reynolds, the chair of government relations, about why college students often don’t vote. “It’s not a lack of interest . . .”

A table in the Shepherd Union Atrium will hold computers where students can go online and either register to vote or take the pledge to vote at The table will be available from Sept. 12 until Oct. 4, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Each person who registers or takes the pledge will be put into a drawing for an iPad.

“Voter registration, especially for students in Utah, is important because these state legislatures who affect tuition and the price of education here in the state, if they know students are voting, they are more likely to address the issues that affect the students,” said Brady Harris, the WSU Student Association legislative vice president.

Harris volunteered for the event back in 2010, and it was the first thing he got involved with at WSU. He first saw the project when he attended Southern Utah University.

“If we can show the legislature that 7,000 people at Weber State vote, then they’re going to listen to us,” Harris said. “It makes a big difference . . . that’s why I’m willing to work so hard for it.”

The tables will be in the Atrium as well as other locations on campus. This month, WSU will be focused on getting people registered to vote. Sept. 25, which is National Voter Registration Day, was first created by the American Democracy Project. October is the month for voter education. During October, WSU will encourage people to go vote.

“That’s the important part,” said Mandie Barnes, WSUSA leadership vice president. “We can get 7,000 people to register to vote; we want 7,000 people to actually show up.”

Harris said encouraging people to go vote is something the WSUSA hasn’t focused on in the past. Usually it focused on registering and pledging to vote.

Reynolds said he thinks many people don’t vote because they think their one vote won’t matter, but he believes differently.

“By casting your vote, your voice is being heard,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he also believes students might not vote because they do not understand how the process works, they think the process will be long, or they believe it will even cost money to register.

Barnes said she wants everyone to vote, no matter who they are voting for. During the elections, WSU will be a venue for people to vote.

“People should take the time to make sure that their voice is being heard,” Reynolds said.