Castleton reaches their voter registration goal

Castleton State College recently participated in a 32-state non-partisan voter registration project sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The goal of registering 40,000 students nationwide to vote was helped by the 136 registered at Castleton.

More than 70 colleges participated in the project, which was part of a larger effort by Young Voter Strategies to register 350,000 voters in 2006.

“The college age group is the largest block, but politicians aren’t paying attention,” said Matthew Patry, Castleton Coordinator of the voter registration program. “That’s changing a little now because things like this are starting to make a difference.”

According to Patry, the program set a goal of each college registering five percent of its student body. For Castleton, that would be 104 students, which was exceeded by 32.

“I’m thrilled. It shows that students are more interested in politics than what they are given credit for,” Patry said.

At Castleton, voter registration tables were set-up in Leavenworth, Huden Dining Hall, and at Sustainability Day. Also, eleven faculty members agreed to open their classes for presentations about the importance of voting. In some of the classes, which were randomly selected, the professor was not allowed to speak about the subject.

“It was a great opportunity to be involved in the project. The data collected will be very handy,” Patry said. “In the past, we had no idea what the best way was to spread the word about voting and registering.”

At other colleges, the experiment also included e-mails, snail mail/flyers and presentations by students rather than faculty.

“The data will produce a great picture of how to get students interested in voting,” Patry said. “This year there was definitely an influx. I think we helped.

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