After countless volunteer hours spent making posters, visiting classrooms and standing in the Park Blocks with clipboards, ASPSU and their cadre of campus volunteers have registered over 4,000 people to vote this year. While the numbers are not yet final, ASPSU’s current unofficial total sits at 4,089 new voter registration cards collected over the past few months.
ASPSU registers over 4,000 to vote
After countless volunteer hours spent making posters, visiting classrooms and standing in the Park Blocks with clipboards, ASPSU and their cadre of campus volunteers have registered over 4,000 people to vote this year.
While the numbers are not yet final, ASPSU’s current unofficial total sits at 4,089 new voter registration cards collected over the past few months.
Statewide, the registration drive efforts sponsored by the Oregon Student Association registered about 23,000 students at 20 schools, according to ASPSU Legislative Affairs Director Zach Martinson.
Martinson coordinated the effort at Portland State and helped PSU pull in almost a fifth of all cards collected throughout OSA-affiliated campuses.
Martinson said ASPSU’s goal was to register 6,000 students over the course of the registration campaign. Even though they did not quite make it, Martinson said he still believes it was a good goal.
“To me, it was about registering as many students as possible,” Martinson said, “and I believe we did that.”
It was definitely a team effort. Over the course of the campaign, 300 students volunteered their time and energy to help collect cards. During the last week of the campaign, the OSA sent four representatives to PSU to help coordinate and organize the campus-wide effort on a full-time basis.
Seventy-two hours of canvassing took place over the last week of the drive, and the ASPSU executive staff alone collected 987 voter registration cards.
In the end, it did come down to the wire: PSU students turned in 660 voter registration cards on the last day, 250 of which came from the last hour of campaigning.
ASPSU had to shut down registration at 4 p.m. in order to ensure that all registration cards were delivered on time to the elections office.
“We had a line of students waiting to register,” Martinson said. “Students love waiting for the last minute.”
Martinson credited the high numbers of collected cards to several factors. For example, Residence Life and College Housing allowed the volunteers access to the dorms.
“We knocked on every door in the University–twice,” Martinson said.
That helped push numbers up, as did the “class raps” Martinson and the others from ASPSU conducted, in which they visited classrooms and conducted presentations.
Student body president Hannah Fisher and PSU athletic director Torre Chisholm also attended one of the Vikings’ football games and gave a speech from the field concerning the importance of voting.
In essence, the voter drive isn’t quite over. Now that the registration cards have been collected, the next phase begins, in which ASPSU will set out to educate students about how to vote.
Pamphlets planned for campus-wide distribution contain information on ballot measures, what each measure will cost, what exactly a “yes” or a “no” vote means and the possible impact of that measure on students.
OSA, which annually organizes statewide support for student voting, is coordinating efforts to use as many methods as possible to enable students to vote, such as phone hotlines as well as carpools and shuttles to the elections office.
The student-voter drives have a history of affecting local and national politics. According to OSA’s Web site, the 2006 drive may have been instrumental in defeating two ballot measures that the organization says would have seriously jeopardized postsecondary funding.
OSA also attributes the voter drive to university funding becoming one of the top priorities in the governor’s recommended budget.
The last phase of the drive will entail simply collecting as many ballots as possible.
“Our biggest failing in ’06-07 was that we registered 22,000 students and only 10,000 of them voted,” Martinson said.
To make it easy for students to vote, ASPSU will be installing ballot drop boxes around campus after this Wednesday.
Where else can I vote?Other places around Multnomah County to drop off your ballot.(An asterisk indicates the location has a 24-hour drop box)Information supplied by Multnomah County Web site.
Multnomah County Elections Office *1040 S.E. Morrison St.
Multnomah County LibrariesCentral Library * (Ballots can be drop off in the drive-up book deposit after hours.)801 S.W. 10th Ave.
Gresham Library385 N.W. Miller St.
Hollywood Library4040 N.E. Tillamook St.
Midland Library *805 S.E. 122nd Ave.
Hillsdale Library1525 S.W. Sunset Blvd.
Albina Library3605 N.E. 15th Ave.
Belmont Library1038 S.E. 39th Ave.
Capitol Hill Library10723 S.W. Capitol Highway
Fairview-Columbia Library1520 N.E. Village St.
Gregory Heights Library7921 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
Holgate Library7905 S.E. Holgate Blvd.
North Portland Library512 N. Killingsworth St.
Northwest Library2300 N.W. Thurman St.
Rockwood Library17917 S.E. Stark St.
St. Johns Library7510 N. Charleston Ave.
Sellwood-Moreland Library7860 S.E. 13th Ave.
Woodstock Library6008 S.E. 49th Ave.
Pioneer Courthouse Square *700 block of S.W. Broadway
A-Boy Supply *7365 S.W. Barbur Blvd.
Goodwill *3134 N. Lombard St.
McDonald’s *2010 N.E. 39th Ave.