The Arizona Desert Lamp

More bang for your ballot

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 29 September 2008

Following the national trend of student voter registration efforts, a new site has started up with an interesting twist. CountMore.org is a basic site with a basic premise — “Register to vote where it counts more.” So long as the electoral college exists, such calculations must take place; this site makes it easy for students to decide where make their vote will have the greatest impact.

However, I would recommend that UA Votes not make use of such a site. Why? Well, the site is based on cross-comparisons between the competitiveness of states. For example, if you go to school in Utah, but you are originally from Colorado, then the site will urge to you to vote at home, since your vote will have a much greater impact in that swing state than in Orrin-Hatch-red Utah.

Arizona isn’t quite as one-sided as Utah, but it’s fairly close. And in spite of all the talk of “Arizona going blue”, it’s useful to remember that John McCain is still the senior senator from the state. When matched up against the other 49 states, in no instance did CountMore urge the voter to register in AZ; the results split fairly evenly between “Toss-Up” and “Register at Home!” Suffice to say, this message doesn’t exactly help to encourage registration here in Arizona.

To be fair, these comparisons are based solely on the results from the 2004 presidential election, which ignores changes that have occurred in the past four years. Yet at risk of repeating myself, I will bet a substantial amount of money that Arizona will stay in the Republican column. If you really want to maximize support for a non-McCain candidate, I’d recommend voting from home.

Also, an interesting note from the site’s Q & A:

What if I’m on a scholarship? Students with scholarships or tuition that require residency should check with their financial aid office before registering to vote in their home state. For example, if you have a scholarship that requires California residency, you should ensure that registering to vote in a different state will not affect your status. Note: this does not apply to recipients of federal financial aid and does not affect the vast majority of students. The Brennan Center for Justice has a detailed description of the cases where registering to vote in a new state can affect your financial aid or tuition.

Obviously, this is a minor subset of students, but I have yet to hear the issue brought up by UA Votes, considering that an out-of-state student’s parents could be very surprised by the size of the next scholarship check.

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