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Quaranto advocates voter registration drive

Matt Bramanti | Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Members of the Council of Representatives convened Monday evening in LaFortune Student Center to discuss a voter registration drive.

Peter Quaranto, a sophomore who works at the Center for Social Concerns in the justice education program, spoke to the body regarding a proposed voter registration drive. He said there is significant room for improvement in political awareness among students.

“Notre Dame has typically had a very bad record of political engagement and voter turnout during election years,” Quaranto said.

He encouraged student leaders to assist in the “Rock the Vote” effort, with the goal of registering students and distributing absentee ballots, allowing them to vote in hometown elections while at Notre Dame.

In literature accompanying his presentation, Quaranto cited a study indicating that 92 percent of registered voters between 25 and 29 registered during their college years.

Quaranto proposed including the drive’s efforts in campus events, like lectures, Student Union Board concerts and other programs. In his proposal, student volunteers will host tables at those events, offering voter registration forms that are valid in most states.  

Senior class president Jazmin Garcia said registering voters at campus events will broaden the range of students Rock the Vote can reach.

“That way it’s open to all students who are interested in going to class events, SUB events, and dorm events,” Garcia said.

The senior class council is co-sponsoring the initiative, along with the College Republicans and College Democrats.

Quaranto asked student leaders for their support in registering as many voters as possible.

“We’re looking for funding, support and leadership from student government,” he said. “Student government would be the perfect place to take the lead on this sort of thing.”

Several council members agreed, expressing interest in the drive. Hall Presidents Council co-chair Sarah Keefer invited Quaranto to address an upcoming HPC meeting, in order to promote the drive.

Members also discussed the ongoing restructuring of the student union constitution. As the discussion began, however, judicial board president Elliot Poindexter moved to close the meeting. The motion passed without opposition or debate.

In other COR news:

u Sophomore class president James Leito encouraged students to attend a Valentine card-making session in LaFortune’s Dooley Room on Feb. 12. Leito suggested the men in his class might even find their Valentine there. “There’s usually about a 10-to-one ratio of girls to guys,” Leito joked.

u Student body vice president Emily Chin announced that members of the office of the president’s diversity council will address the Student Senate regarding recent affirmative action debates taking place in the Viewpoint pages of The Observer.