Western’s student-run voter registration drive enrolled a record 3,475 new and updated student voters this fall, more than any other college or university in the state. The Associated Students Representation and Engagement Programs coordinate the drive, with help from several volunteers from the Western Votes student club.
About 1,200 students registered during move-in weekend, says Rosa Rice-Pelepko, an Environmental Studies student from Shoreline and the REP Organizing and Outreach coordinator. Hundreds more signed up during the two-day Info Fair in Red Square before classes started, or with the volunteers with clipboards who roamed campus before the Oct. 10 registration deadline.
Western’s voter drive is part of a statewide effort to build political power among college students. The Washington Student Association, a lobbying group representing the state’s college and university students, registers a total of about 6,000 students each year.
“We want students to have more voting power in Olympia,” says Rice-Pelepko, whose job will now turn to other civic engagement projects. “Legislators know we do have a lot of voters, so it helps to keep them accountable.”