By KAREN GUTKE
BYU Student Advisory Council is sponsoring a voter registration drive for all BYU students who are Utah residents this week to meet the Feb. 19 deadline for the Western Presidential Primary Election on March 10.
This will be the first time Utah has a chance to participate in a presidential primary election. Gov. Mike Leavitt, Nevada Gov. Kenny Quinn and other members of the Western Presidential Primary Task Force have been pushing for the Western Presidential Primary Election since 1996.
“We’re hoping that candidates will come to our area and get to know us and we will get to know them so they could see us not as a place to come three days before the election, but as an area of great vibrancy,” Leavitt said at the 1998 Republicans Governors Association’s annual conference.
Utah will participate in the primary on March 10.
“Our issues have been overlooked and we’ve been taken for granted,” Leavitt said at the 1998 Republican’s Annual Conference. “We’ve been left out of the process of electing a leader of the free world. The game is over before we’ve even suited up and our region has suffered as a result.”
The Western Presidential Primary Election was approved by the House on Feb. 2, 1999 and was amended and passed by the Senate on Feb. 26, 1999.
The bill was signed by Governor Leavitt on March 10, 1999.
“One year from today,” Leavitt said when he signed the bill, “America’s most dynamic region economically will increase its growing influence in national politics. Until now, the Mountain West has been left out of the process of nominating candidates for the leadership of the free world. We’re poised to become a player for the first time in American presidential politics.”
Representatives from the BYU College Republicans, Democrats of BYU, Pi Sigma Alpha and the Amnesty International Club volunteered to help students register at a booth in the Wilkinson Student Center Wednesday through today.
“I think that this is awesome. It is makes voting so easy and so accessible for the students. It is so sad when so many people don’t take the opportunity to vote,” said Kelsey Larsen, a chemistry major from Springville and a member of College Republicans Service Committee.
The Student Advisory Council provided each of the registration forms, absentee ballots request forms, and also paid for the postage to send each form to the county clerks in Utah. They also hope to sponsor another drive later in the year to get all BYU students registered to vote so they can participate in the final presidential elections in November.
“We want to make it as simple as possible for BYU students to vote,” said Jann Cahoon, a humanities major from Holliday, Salt Lake County and vice chair of College Republicans.