Deadline to register is Oct. 12

If students want to make sure their voices are heard by legislators in Salem, there's one thing they need to do: Vote. That's the message from Associated Students of the University of Oregon, which are in the midst of a voter-registration campaign on campus.

Oct. 12 is the deadline for registering to vote in the Nov. 2 general election. ASUO's goal is to register 6,000 students by the deadline; so far, organizers have registered about 2,400.

The UO's campaign is part of a statewide campaign, led by the Oregon Student Association, to get 20,000 college students registered. The campaign's theme is, "Want Change? You've got two choices: Vote OR Vote."

Organizers will be approaching students on campus over the next two weeks. They won't be telling students how to vote, but explaining how high the stakes are, and how important it is that students have a voice when lawmakers return to Salem in January.

"When students turn out to vote, legislators notice that," said Ben Eckstein, ASUO's legislative affairs coordinator.

Registering to vote takes just a few minutes. Eckstein said he would prefer students register with an ASUO volunteer or at the ASUO office, which allows the organization to track the number of students who have registered. But students also can register online at the Oregon Secretary of State's website (oregonvotes.org); at post offices; and at the Lane County Elections Office at 10th and Lincoln in Eugene.

Amelie Rousseau, ASUO president, was buttonholing students last week on campus, asking if they were registered to vote, and if not, offering to sign them up. The key, she said, is to have a friendly face, and act like you know them.

"Peer-to-peer voter registration is the most effective and most fun," she said. "No one is going to do this work for us. It's up to us to fight for our interests."

— Contact UO Web reporter Tim Christie at timc@uoregon.edu.