Program makes voting registration easier for UK students

By Kayla Pickrell

kpickrell@kykernel.com

UK Student Government has funded a partnership with TurboVote, an online voting-registration service, to allow students to register to vote electronically — including with absentee ballots.

“It’s very similar to signing up for Facebook; it’s quick and painless,” said Matt Cordeiro, the partnership associate for TurboVote.

Until the final deadline to register to vote for the November elections on Sept. 25, students can log onto uky.turbovote.org and create an account to fill out the registration form and have it delivered.

“Then you can pop them back into the mail like Netflix,” Cordeiro said.

TurboVote is partnering with universities throughout the U.S. So far, 50 universities, including Ivy League schools and community colleges, have joined the partnership.

“It’s a very diverse group of schools using it,” Cordeiro said.

Not only are students allowed to register, but they are able to look at the candidate platforms and receive text-message and email reminders about Election Day, said Nolan Jackson, director of the Wildcat Interest Group.

“Any effort to register young people to vote I think is very important,” Jackson said.

Even if students already registered to vote, they can use the website for its voting information. Polling locations in Kentucky are listed on the website, Jackson said. Unlike other schools that are setting numbers for how many students they want to register, UK had three weeks to launch the partnership.

“The partnership works in tandem with school voter-registration efforts,” Cordeiro said.

Some schools having the most success with TurboVote are the University of Florida and the University of Akron, Cordeiro said.

“There’s not a target number (of registered people), but my personal philosophy is if it registers anybody at all, that’s a great success for us,” Jackson said. TurboVote is run by young adults who “speak (students’) language,” Cordeiro said.

The program should be helpful to students in getting them in the habit of voting regularly, Cordeiro added.

“It’s making it easy and giving folks the information they need,” Cordeiro said.

After Wildcat Interest Group introduced TurboVote on Sept. 10 at Rock the Vote, more than 100 students had signed up fewer than two hours later, Jackson said.

“This partnership has generated a lot of student interest,” Jackson said. “It allows the students to participate in a presidential election.”