In Dutchess County, New York (home of Poughkeepsie and, among others, Vassar College), county commissioners are at odds over registration requirements for college students living in dorms with a dormitory, rather than street, address:
Requiring voters to provide additional information regarding their physical address is unfair to students, according to some student voters and Dutchess County Democratic Commissioner Fran Knapp.
Dutchess County Republican Commissioner Erik Haight, who’s being accused by Knapp of disenfranchising student voters, said New York state election law requires voters to provide a physical address, although rules haven’t been strictly followed in the past...
Haight said he recently signed 50 letters informing prospective voters that their applications are incomplete and that if anyone is causing trouble for them, it’s Knapp.
“Commissioner Knapp refused to inform these voters that they’ve sent in incomplete applications,” Haight said. “She’s been sitting on them to conduct a stunt like this. She’s delaying voters.”
Knapp denied Haight’s claim, saying he only gave her the letters last week and that she has spent time since then consulting with officials on how to handle the issue.
The issue has not, apparently, come up in any other counties in New York or elsewhere. We'll post an update if this turns out to be a recurring problem.
Of course, we're a bit biased - it's the home state of CEEP founder Paul Loeb, Associate National Director Geov Parrish, and several other national and state CEEP staff - but we mention it now because CEEP's Washington staffperson, Luke Shipstad, reports that between schools working with CEEP and the efforts of the Washington Student Association, WashPIRG, and Washington BUS, new and updated (e.g. address changes) student registrations statewide so far have topped 13,000! Those aren't complete numbers, but even as is, they're a fine testimony to lots of hard work on many different campuses. Highlights: 552 registrants at Seattle University (out of 7,000 students); 641 at Central Washington University (11,000 students); 664 at Eastern Washington University (also 11,000 students); 788 at Bellevue College; 1,483 at University of Washington; 1,748 at Washington State University; and a phenomenal 2,261 (out of 14,000 students - better than one in seven!) at Luke's home school, Western Washington University in Bellingham. Congratulations to all involved!
The Debate Watch party at Barry University (Miami Shores, Florida) for the first presidential debate gets local TV news coverage!
The Election Protection smartphone app is now available for free on the iTunes store! The app is a one-stop-shop for registering to vote, checking your registration, looking up your polling place, and reviewing key voting rules for your state. Check it out, and refer friends and colleagues who are glued to their smartphones!
The count is in. The Arizona Students Association has registered over 7,100 new student voters this year. The ASA, founded in 1974, has been doing student registration drives across Arizona's campuses pretty much ever since.
Communication Director Dan Sullivan says the key to their success is "peer pressure," Their #1 tactic is having students speak to classes. First they target the largest classes; then, they get permission to address the students at the beginning of the class and hand out voter registration forms. ASA also sponsors a competition for the most voter registrations between the different universities and presents a trophy to the winners.
Check out our collection of the best ideas for politically engaging students in the weeks leading up to November 6, getting them to the polls on Election Day, and keeping them involved after the voting results are in. We've got fun attention-grabbers such as Trick-or-Vote Halloween campaigns and mock boxing matches between students dressed as the presidential candidates; we've also got serious items like campus-wide email reminders to vote and encouraging students to volunteer for campaigns and at the polls. Colleges still have plenty of time to make a big difference, and our 33 Things show them how. Take a look and pass it along!
Last week, the University of Texas-Arlington packed the hall with big screens and students for its Debate Watch party during the first presidential debate. Tonight's a chance for schools to do it again, as vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan meet at Centre College in Danville, Ky. for their only debate. The full schedule for and information on this year's presidential debates is here
A federal appeals court has ruled that South Carolina's new Voter ID law was constitutional, but that given the short period of time remaining to implement the law, it should not be applied to the 2012 general election next month.
South Carolina becomes the latest of several states to see new legal requirements for voting stayed or overturned by federal and state courts. All of the states involved have passed the laws under Republican governors and legislatures.
The South Carolina ruling is notable because it was challenged for discriminatory impact under the state's inclusion in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the court ruled that it met that law's standard for non-discrimination. The appeals panel ruled that, because of changes to the law made while the lawsuit was being litigated that allowed voters to provide a "reasonable explanation" as to why they did not have required ID - and that the explanations could not be challenged by poll workers - the law would not have a discriminatory effect.
New laws in Florida and Texas have also been challenged under the Voting Rights Act, and new laws in, among other states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Indiana and Wisconsin have been challenged on other grounds. In most of the recent decisions, courts have delayed or ruled against the new laws.