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Hopeful seeks on-campus voting stations

BY SCOTT RAYNOR | OCTOBER 01, 2009 7:20 AM

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UI students could find it easier to vote in next week’s City Council elections if plans are approved today to place several satellite voting locations on the UI campus.

In an attempt to get more students to vote, candidate Jared Bazzell — one of three UI students running in the election — is trying to get early voting stations at three on-campus locations.

“I really think increasing UI students’ involvement, giving students better opportunities to vote, is beneficial,” Bazzell said.

UI officials have approved his plan to set up sites in Schaeffer Hall, Adler Journalism Building, and Pappajohn Business Building, he said.

He plans to submit forms to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office for approval today.

Three UI students are running for a spot on the council, along with two community members. Bazzell said the goal of on-campus voting booths is to make it easier for students to voice their opinions.

Johnson County has approved satellite locations in previous elections, including in 2007, when students turned out in large numbers to vote on the proposed 21-ordinance.

Voter registration increased by more than 4,500 in the 18- to 24-year-old age bracket that year.
John Deeth, an accounting clerk at the Johnson County Treasurer’s Office, said there was “unprecedented” interest.

“Historically, city elections have much smaller turnout,” said Deeth, who has published voting turnouts for decades.

Student interest in this year’s election does not seem as high as in 2007, Deeth added.

But with UI student candidates and recent council decisions regarding the downtown scene, Bazzell said he thinks his peers will be interested in this election.

“The City Council has done a lot of things when the students are out of session, parking and towing changes made during summer session, all this stuff that affects students,” he said, noting many students vote if it’s easily accessible to them.

City Council candidate Dan Tallon, also a UI student, said he thinks on-campus sites are vital to a strong student turnout, adding he would also like to see voting stations in residence halls.

And some UI students agreed the possibility to vote on campus would make them more likely to participate in the election.

UI junior Emily Cruse said she would be much more likely to vote if there are booths on campus, but added she would need to learn more about the candidates first.

“I would probably vote if I were more informed about the candidates,” Cruse said.

Jean Peimann, a poll attendee at the UI’s Main Library, noted a low attendance at the early voting location on Wednesday.

“We had some supporters of some candidates, but there were others who didn’t know what the election is for.”


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