SPECIAL SERIES : 2004 National Election
Education and Political Power Meet at Library
November 2, 2004 4:25 PM
SF State students can easily vote in this election with a polling precinct in the reading room of the J. Paul Leonard Library.
This is only the second time in SF State history that students have had the luxury of voting on campus. After registering the required 250 voters to be established as a precinct in 2002, SF State's own polling place is a relief to hundreds of student voters.
“Voting on campus is so much better than having to find transportation to go and vote,” said David Garcia, majoring in BECA. “It's my break in between classes right now so I can vote and go to class without every having to leave school.”
Many other voters exiting the poll share the relief of accessibility of voting on campus.
“I think a lot of students will take the attitude of 'why not' if they're already here,” said Kari Knight, 19, a freshman English major. “It may be a long line, but it's just such an important election. It will definitely help out that we're able to vote on campus.”
With the elimination of transportation hindering student voters, perhaps a higher percentage of eligible SF State voters will cast ballots. According to a survey conducted by the Public Research Institute, an independent public policy research organization on campus, nearly 66 percent of SF State voters cast ballots in the November 2002 election.
A new poll by the Harvard Institute of Policy shows a dramatic rise in interest in this year's presidential campaign on college campuses. They expect 72 percent of college students to vote in this election, a dramatic turnout from previous elections.
In the reading room where the poll is located, a long line of students extends past rows of books and shelves. Garcia complains that this is the longest he has ever waited to vote.
“Every other time I've voted it has only taken ten minutes,” David Garcia said. “I've been here for half an hour.”
Charlie Leer, a 19-year-old psychology major, waited an hour.
“It took forever to vote today, but there's going to be a line anywhere,” he said. This is my first time to vote and it's great because I live in the dorms and just walked here.”
Ellen Griffin of the Office of Public Affairs said that SF State has registered 2,800 voters in the past two years, and 600 of those live on campus. SF State received the polling precinct as a result of enlarged campus efforts and a growth in student housing that helped achieve the numbers, Griffin said.
An estimated half hour line is the only thing standing in between students and their opportunity to express their opinions through voting. Absentee and provisional ballots are also welcome at the poll until 8 p.m.
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