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Public Affairs

Faculty, staff, students get out the vote

October 18, 2006

Librarian Mitch Turitz registers voters at a table in front of the J. Paul Leonard LibrarySF State is nationally recognized for its non-partisan efforts to register voters and encourage voting. A 2004 study conducted by Harvard University and the Chronicle of Higher Education singled out SF State as one of the best universities in finding innovative ways to encourage students to vote. According to the Registrar, Suzanne Dmytrenko, 24,875 SF State students are of voting age, including the largest freshman class in the University's history, many of whom will be voting this year for the first time.

Leading the effort to sign up 6,000 voters this year is a coalition of volunteers including representatives from the Government and Community Relations office, California Faculty Association, Institute of Civic and Community Engagement, Educational Opportunity Program, Associated Students, Inc., and the California State Employees Association.

Anyone can register to vote at information and registration tables in front of the Library and the Humanities building. Staffed by volunteers, the tables operate Monday through Thursday from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. through Oct. 23, the deadline to register. In addition, students are visiting classrooms with voter registration materials. Erin Scholnick, lecturer of political science, has assigned each of the 59 students in her Introduction to Political Science class to register at least 10 voters.

"Our primary goal is to encourage students to vote," said Derek Aitken, associate director of government affairs and a member of the campus's Get-Out-the-Vote Steering Committee. "But we want to also alleviate some of the confusion that occurs each year over where students can register and vote."

Aitken stressed that voters must vote at the polls assigned to them in the county where they reside and are registered to vote. Absentee ballot applications must be submitted to the county where the voter is registered by Oct. 31. California voters can download the application from the California Secretary of State's Web site.

Only students who live on campus and have registered to vote in the campus district can vote at the campus precinct at Building B of the Village at Centennial Square. Polling places at University Park South and University Park North will accommodate registered voters who live in those apartments. San Francisco residents can find the location of their polling places at the San Francisco Department of Elections Web site.

In addition to registering voters, some of the activities planned to involve the campus community in Election Day affairs include:

  • Students interested in serving as Election Day polling place workers in San Francisco should call (415) 544-4395 (mention that you are an SF State student). Poll workers are paid and required to work the entire day.
  • Voters who have visual and mobility related disabilities can preview new accessible voting machines at on-campus presentations hosted by the Disability Programs and Resource Center. The sessions will be held Oct. 18 and 19. Call (415) 338-2472 (voice/tty) or e-mail for times and locations and to R.S.V.P.
  • A voter education forum will held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, in Jack Adams Hall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Proponents and opponents of state and local ballot measures will present their views.
  • On election night, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences public lecture series is presenting "The Promise vs. Reality in the 2006 Election." The event, at 7 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, welcomes the campus community and general public to watch the election results on a big screen TV, listen to commentary by faculty experts, and ask questions and express opinions about the returns.

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified October 18, 2006 by University Communications