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Civics Lesson: UW Group Wants Voting Drop Box on Campus

By Josh Feit September 12, 2011

Here is a hard-hitting, but not surprising, stat: Only three of 273 registered voters in the election precinct that includes the University of Washington voted in the 2011 August 16 primary elections.

"This is a huge crisis," Associated Students of the University of Washington Government Relations Director Andrew Lewis said in a press release hyping a proposed solution to the limp turnout.  "At a time when higher education is getting cut left and right, increasing young voter turnout is more important than ever."

The big idea: A ballot drop box on campus. (Students can already register to vote when they sign up for classes online.) The concept comes from a program that's already in place at Western Washington University, where turnout was 57 percent in the November 2010 election. UW's voter turnout was 41 percent in that election.

The statement from ASUW, the student government group, concludes:
The ASUW is currently working on garnering support at both the city and county level to attain a ballot drop box on campus. The UW has already implemented a program allowing students to register to vote when they sign up for classes online.

With school right around the corner, Lewis said he wants to make sure student voices are represented in the upcoming elections.

“Students are so busy with class, work and other activities and often don’t have time to go to a drop box or lick a stamp and mail their ballot,” he said. “The convenience of adding a ballot drop box to the UW campus will significantly impact voter turnout for years to come.”
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