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Senate holds voter registration on UWRF campus

October 5, 2012

Voter registration form
To register to vote in Wisconsin, students and others must complete an application form. (Student Voice graphic)

With the presidential election just one month away, voter registration has been increasing on campus.

Students are encouraged by River Falls Deputy City Clerk Bridget Hieb, and the Student Senate to register during the open voter registration period, which is the easiest time to complete the process. The open voter registration period began on August 15 and will end on October 17. After that date, anyone wishing to register must provide proof of residence and register either in person at the city clerk’s office or at the polls on Election Day.

Many students at UW-River Falls have expressed their concern of not knowing how or where to register. UWRF student, Grace Davig, will be registering to vote for the first time, and like many others is confused at how to go about it.

“I thought that maybe I would just go online or something and look it up, but I am really not sure how to register and as it is getting closer to the elections, I should really figure it out soon.”

For Davig and all other UWRF students, registration does not have to be confusing or difficult.

Student Senate is providing voter registration tables in the University Center during the open voter registration period.

The senators at the tables will have all the necessary information in order to help students register.

The students can fill out the form at the table and leave it there to be delivered to the clerk’s office, or they can take the form with them if they do not have time right away to fi ll it out and then bring it back to the table or even mail it or bring it in themselves.

The senators will be at the tables Monday through Thursday until Oct. 15. The tables will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and from 10:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Student Senate President Bobbi O’Brien said that the senators have already collected more than 40 registration forms while doing their tabling and they hope to collect many more.

“Most of the students who come up to us are just telling us that they want to register and asking how long it will take and we can walk them through the process in just a few minutes and it is rather painless, so it has been going over really well so far.”

O’Brien and four other senators recently went through training to become deputized, giving them the ability to sign the registration forms and deliver them to the city clerk’s office.

Hieb stresses that this process of registering right on campus with the senators is absolutely the easiest way for students to go about registering, especially if they are unsure about exactly what to do.

“All students have to do is fill out the registration form and sign and date it. It is really a very simple process during the open voter registration period and students should take advantage of the service that Student Senate is providing to them.”

Hieb explained that there are just a few other ways students can register. One way is by downloading the registration form online and then mailing it or bringing it in to her office before Oct. 17 or after that date, with proof of residence. Also, students can wait until Election Day to register, but they should be aware that it could take longer at the polls.

UWRF student Keeley Barrientos, is already registered to vote in her hometown in Minnesota from previous elections.

She said that she is not sure what she needs to do to be able to vote, or what her options are.

Hieb explained that Barrientos and other students in this same position can choose to stay registered in their hometown, but it means they have to go home to vote on Election Day or request an absentee ballot, which can be done through the city clerk’s office or from the Student Senate tables.

If these students choose not to do that, then they may fill out a new registration form with their college address and then they can vote in River Falls.

One thing students should be aware of is that not everyone on campus may vote in the polling location in the UC on Election Day.

The district lines divide the campus and because of this, all students living in Hathorn, and residence halls on the east side of campus, will vote in the UC, while those living on the west side of campus must vote at the River Falls High School.

In order to help with this, Student Senate and the UWRF ROTC program will be providing a free shuttle service on Election Day to take students over to the high school.

The vans will leave from the new metered lot north of Cascade Avenue and will run between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Any additional information on voter registration and voting can be found online at gab.wi.gov/voters or the River Falls city website at www.rfcity.org.