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Students prepare to cast their ballot

October 30, 2008

Students on campus are preparing for the election on Tuesday, Nov. 4 by getting information around campus to help register and remind students to vote in the general election.

Students who live on campus can vote at the University Center on Election Day. Students who live off campus or commute to River Falls can vote at their local voting precinct. The polls are open in Wisconsin and Minnesota from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Student Senate has been working in the past weeks to notify students of how they can register early to vote, where they can vote and informing students on who’s running for the positions. 

“In addition to simply registering students to vote we also made a point to have all of our volunteer deputies tell every student where there polling location was,” Director of Legislative Affairs on Student Senate Matthew Dale said.

Student Senate has also sent letters to every residence hall reminding students who live on campus to vote. They are also looking at other options for voting support, such as chalking the sidewalks and setting up programs in the halls.

“It’s time for this generation to step up to have an impact,” state Senate candidate Alison Page said.

U.S. Senator for Wisconsin Russ Feingold and State Assembly candidate Sarah Bruch and Alison Page, who is running for state Senate have all been on campus promoting their campaigns.

“These are the people who determine how much money goes to the University System and, therefore, how much tuition ends up costing us,” advocate for democratic students Ben Plunkett said.

Organizations for specific parties are promoting student voting by having tables and informational brochures in the lobby of the University Center.

“Currently we have been active doing literature drops in district towns on our meeting nights,” UWRF College Republican Chair Casie Kelley said.

These meetings take place Monday at 7 p.m. in room 321 of the University Center. UWRF College Republicans also hosted “Running for McCain,” an event where students jogged through campus with shirts that read, “Students for McCain.” 

The Rise up for Women’s Rights student group is working on issue advocacy. They are arguing on behalf of an organization called MomsRising. Its goal is to work to bring together millions of people who share a common concern about the need to build a more family-friendly America. This organization was started in May 2006 and is rapidly growing to over 150,000 citizens. Greta Gaard, UWRF professor of English, is an advocate for women’s rights and recently became a member of MomsRising and makes calls a few times a night to support mother voting. 

Pre-registration is recommended to all students who live on and off campus. You can register to vote at your local city hall, as well as other locations, by providing your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number. Students also will have to show proof of residency by an official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin or Minnesota government unit or by an employer. There are numerous ways to show residency that can be checked by your city hall officials.

“Early voter registration avoids lines and is more efficient,” UWRF alumnus Paul Webb said. 

Webb is also running for register of deeds and has been on campus multiple times to stress the importance of voting to students.

Wisconsin and Minnesota both have same-day-registration, which allows voters to register and vote on Election Day. Only six states have same day registration. Voters in Wisconsin and Minnesota have an opportunity that other states do not have to register the same day as the general election.

“Student voting is very important this election,” Plunkett said.

Students who live off campus must vote at the polling location in their ward. In order to find out where to vote you can visit www.vpa.wi.gov/  for Wisconsin voters and www.pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/  for Minnesota voters.

Even if you have pre-registered you still need to bring your driver’s license or state issued ID to the polls in order to vote. For a map of the River Falls voting districts see page 8.