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Harvard survey says SFSU tops in getting the vote out



Denize Springer
SFSU Office of Public Affairs & Publications
(415) 405-3803
(415) 338-1665

Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Focus on voter education as well as voter registration

SAN FRANCISCO, September 14, 2004 -- A new survey of voter registration efforts on U.S. college campuses finds San Francisco State University one of the top schools to effectively increase voter registration among students. The Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP) recently teamed with the weekly Chronicle of Higher Education on the survey, which hails SFSU for its efforts to fulfill its civic obligation to encourage voter participation. The survey concludes that only 16.9 percent of the schools polled met the standards set by the 1998 Higher Education Act. Results were based on the responses from 249 U.S. colleges and universities.

"We pride ourselves on being a politically aware, civically engaged University, and I can think of no more important expression of those values than casting a vote on Election Day," says SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan.

The survey found that more than one-third of the schools surveyed failed to meet even the spirit of the federal law which stipulates on-campus practices such as absentee ballot applications and voter registration drives. SFSU was singled out for being one of the best universities in finding innovative ways to register students and help get out the vote. In addition to candidates' nights, panel discussions and voter registration drives, SFSU student clubs and student government run ads in the school newspaper and hold ballot receipt promotions. This semester the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences is offering a free public lecture series focusing on this year's national election, which students can take for credit. Political Science faculty have included voter recruitment in class assignments.

This year SFSU is putting as much into voter education as voter registration. The University plans to sponsor a voter education and get-out-the-vote event in collaboration with the San Francisco mayor and other guests. Live broadcasts of youth radio shows will take place on campus as part of the campaign. Representatives from the San Francisco Department of Elections are planning to make on-campus presentations to students to educate them about rank choice voting.

"San Francisco State students are among the most politically active in the nation, and we get a tremendous response to our voter campaigns," says Corrigan. An earlier study revealed that nearly two out of three SFSU students who were eligible to vote voted in the 2002 elections.

For more information about the IOP/Chronicle of Higher Education survey, visit


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Last modified September 15, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications