Vote Project gets students to vote

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    By Adam Riggs

    There is one concept that Democrats and Republicans can agree upon: the importance of voting.

    In the past, students at BYU have had the opportunity to participate in a program called Rock the Vote, which was implemented to raise awareness concerning national elections.

    However, this year, BYUSA decided to join other major colleges and universities in Utah to form VoteProject, said Max Hunsaker, project co-founder.

    “VoteProject is local,” he said. “It is localized to the issues and needs of our student body. Rock the Vote didn”t have the resources to help our students like VoteProject does.”

    Students from BYU, University of Utah, Utah Valley State College, Utah State University and Weber State University are all utilizing the resources that VoteProject offers. A Web site, www.voteproject.org, gives students the opportunity to find and contact their local leaders. Currently, information is only available for Utah politicians, but national information will be available soon, Hunsaker said.

    Also, BYU will promote voter awareness with various activities throughout this week. Highlighting the activities is the best of Battle of the Bands on Wednesday and Friday and a question and answer session with the Lieutenant Governor of Utah on Thursday.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 36 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the 2000 presidential election.

    Hunsaker said there are many myths concerning students and voting.

    “The biggest myth is that students don”t care about voting,” he said. “It is hard for us at this time in our life. Students want to vote and we just need a way to enable them to follow through with their desires.”

    Hunsaker said VoteProject will aid students in the voting process.

    “We created VoteProject to help students to become empowered to vote by absentee ballot,” Hunsaker said.

    A main feature of VoteProject is the opportunity for students to obtain an absentee ballot from any state. At BYU, this service will be available in the East Ballroom Lounge in the Wilkinson Student Center until Friday.

    Hunsaker said there will be a week in late October set aside to educate students on the major issues specifically affecting students.

    “We are a diverse campus,” he said. “We are getting better at catering to the needs of our students and we found VoteProject is the best option for students in Utah.”

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