A non-partisan student group is kicking off a voter registration effort at Iowa’s three state universities. The Public Interest Research Group urges students to send a text message to 41-411 to be directed to the website "studentvote.org", where they can get a voter registration form and send messages to their friends.
Aly Peeler, president of Students for Iowa PIRG, says this won’t replace traditional voter registration tables on campus, but it’s another way to reach busy college students. Peeler says, "People are texting all the time and just to even to text our friends and remind them, ‘Hey, have you registered?’"
Peeler says the goal is to get 80% of the students who attend the University of Iowa, Iowa State or the University of Northern Iowa registered to vote by November. Peeler says they want students to make sure they’re registered, not in their hometown but in their campus town, well before Election Day.
Since it’s a Tuesday, she says most students won’t be able to go back to their hometowns to vote, so they should cast ballots where they’re in college, though it should be noted, you cannot be registered in both places. She says if they’re successful, candidates will pay more attention to the issues students care about like global climate change and college affordability.
Maggie Luttrell, vice president of the Iowa State University Student Body, says politicians usually ignore students. Luttrell says: "They kind of forget us because we don’t go out there, we don’t vote. When we’re concerned with the rising cost of tuition, they’re more concerned with AARP and those who are going to retire and the baby boomers. I think it’s very important if we want to make a difference on any level of politics we need to get out there and vote."
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office says an additional 40,000 18-to-24-year-olds registered to vote at the Iowa Caucuses in January, but election officials warn higher registration numbers often fail to bring higher numbers at the polls.
Secretary of State Michael Mauro says Iowa voters have new options this year. Mauro encourages people to register to vote prior to Election Day so they’ll be able to have a shorter wait at the polls, though he says same-day registration is also an option.