October 3, 2019
The Associated Students of Arizona State University has geared up this fall to boost student civic engagement among Sun Devils across the four campuses. These efforts were front and center on Sept. 24 in observance of National Voter Registration Day.
Trey Leveque, a junior majoring in business and global politics, is the vice president of policy of the Undergraduate Student Government at ASU’s Tempe campus. He said gaining experience in active political participation is the perfect way for students to start sharing their voice.
“ASASU has outlined a civically engaged student body as a top priority,” said Leveque. “Although ASU is one university spread among four physical campuses, the duty and shared responsibilities of these organizations is to educate students on their rights and to continue to help students form lifelong habits of social embeddedness through active participation in the community.”
USG at ASU’s Tempe campus hosted a Civic Engagement Week Sept. 21–27, 2019, to raise awareness regarding National Voter Registration Day and get students talking about voting. Since 16.8% of voting-aged ASU students are not registered to vote, USG is aims to increase those numbers for upcoming elections.
In Leveque’s opinion, the lack of motivation to vote, the lack of education on the running candidates and limited time are three of the main factors that keep students from voting. However, USG is actively working to combat these factors with things like on-campus ballot centers and lunches with state senators during ASU Day at the state capitol.
Taking the time to answer some of the common questions students have about registering to vote, Leveque said ASU’s student government wants to help educate students so there are no excuses not to register.
Voting can seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. So Leveque shared with ASU Student Life some answers to the frequently asked questions USG hears about voting.
Should I register in my home state or college state?
“You can register to vote in either your home state or where you attend college, but you cannot be registered at both locations. If you decide to register in your home state [but won’t be there on Election Day], you will need to sign up for an absentee ballot. Absentee ballot regulations vary based on where you are registered. Be sure to research your state's required process,” said Leveque. “Regardless, you will have the right to vote in the state of your choosing, as long as you have a temporary or permanent residence there.”
Does where I register to vote affect my in-state or out-of-state tuition status?
“No, where you register to vote should not, in most cases, affect your in-state or out-of-state tuition status.”
Do I have to change my driver’s license if I register to vote?
“Not necessarily, though depending on your state, you may need to present an official document with your name and current address on it. If your address has changed, you may need to provide your polling location with documentation that verifies your change of address. In most states, this documentation can be a utility bill or paycheck with your current address on it.”
Researching political parties and the candidates running for office and staying up-to-date on what is happening in the community around you are some of the tips Leveque gave for new registrants. Voters should also make sure to bring everything they need to their polling place.
“Every single individual can influence the way that their communities function through their voice, actions and voting in elections,” Leveque said. “As students, it is especially important for us to vote and be civically engaged because there are a lot of policy areas that impact you and your education.”
The Arizona presidential primary is March 17, 2020, and the hometowns of Sun Devils from states outside of Arizona could also have local elections before then, so students are encouraged to make sure that their registration is current and ensure that their voices are heard. Forms for registration can be found here. Follow the social media accounts for your campus’ student government to stay up to date with what each campus is doing to get out the vote.