COCC students register to vote by the hundreds

More than 1,400 new voters in five days

Hundreds of college students register to vote

BEND, Ore. - More than 1,400 Central Oregon Community College students have registered to vote in just five days. There's a major effort by student government members who are volunteering their time to get more people to vote.

Initially, the goal was to register 1,200 students. But they've surpassed that, and now they're hoping to reach 2,000 new voters.

"We are in the midst of the largest voter campaign this campus has ever seen," director of legislative affairs at ASCOCC Kurt Killinger said, addressing a classroom of students Wednesday afternoon.

Volunteers, with the cooperation of professors, have been going classroom to classroom and setting up tables around campus to get more students interested in registering to vote.

"This is 100 percent non-partisan. Nobody is picking sides, nobody is telling anyone which way to vote or how to vote," Killinger said. "We're just reminding them that they have the option of voting. But you can't do that unless you're registered."

While many students may be deciding who gets their vote for president, organizers say there are many other issues that affect them. On of them is that the cost of tuition has nearly doubled over the past ten years at COCC.

"The state is slowly taking more and more money away from community colleges, and when the students aren't paying attention, they don't realize that," said OSA vote organizer Ariel Rose Jasper. "When they're not voting, these elected officials are not concerned with the issues that matter to college students."

When more students are registered through the Oregon Student Association, there's also a chance for grant money to be awarded for student aid.

Many new voters on campus said it was a simple process.

"They asked us who had registered and who hadn't, and if you wanted to register just raise your hand," said newly registered voter Kayla Miller. "We just had to fill out a form, and it was really easy."

"It was a really positive attitude, and I signed up. And I'm glad that they did that kind of thing," added newly registered voter Christian Corper. "It was really nice, because I probably wouldn't have registered."

As the election gets closer, organizers are hoping to register even more students before the Oct. 16 deadline.

"We hear a lot that, 'My vote doesn't count,'" Killinger said. "One vote doesn't count unless you're registered. If you're registered and there's 2,000 of you, then it most certainly counts. And it counts in a very big way."

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