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Student voter drive gets fewer registrations at Utah State

October 22nd, 2015 Posted in Opinion

Changes in the way voters can register may have had a negative impact on an annual voter registration drive for students at Utah State University.

Members of the clubs College Republicans and College Democrats, as well as the government relations council, advocated for students to register at the Taggart Student Center Monday through Wednesday. As of 1 p.m. on Wednesday 140 students had registered online, according to Barrett Anderson, the director of the government relations council and a member of the USU College Republicans.

Aaron Oborn, the president of USU College Democrats, said last year more than 1,000 students registered to vote either online or by a physical form at the registration booth located in the TSC.

“This year we can’t take forms to the county clerk’s office,” Oborn said. “It’s to crack down on voter fraud.”

According to Diana Olsen, the deputy clerk for the Cache County office, organizations could bring in the registration forms for others up until about two weeks ago. Individuals must now bring in the forms to the county clerk’s office themselves rather than turning the forms into club and council representatives at the university.

Because the representatives were unable to bring the forms in, they could not account for the physical forms taken by the students, which affected the overall numbers.

Matthew Clewett, the assistant director of the government relations council and a member of the USU College Republicans, said because Utah has been a Republican state since 1964, many individuals do not think their vote will affect the outcome of the election.

“There’s kind of a stigma,” said Clewett in regards to voting in Utah.

According to Stephen Prawitt, a member of the government relations council who helped work at the booth, there is also less of a push for registration at colleges by the state due to this not being a general election year.

“People come up with zero interest in the city election,” Prawitt said.

Prawitt said last year there was a competition between schools within the state to see who could get the most students registered but there was no such competition held this year.

The final day to register to vote in this year’s Logan city election is Tuesday.

Rachel Reid, Ashley Springer, Bianca Pahl, Kate Leach, Cassandra Solarte and Jackson Wilde contributed to this report.

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