According to the secretary of state's office only about seventy-percent of eligible voters in California have registered to vote in the November 4th Election.
The University of Southern California is home to a good-sized chunk of eligible, first-time voters. And many of them have not yet registered. Several groups on campus are mobilizing this week to make sure they do.
Senior Nelson Chen chairs one campus group, The New Voters Project. Chen said The New Voters Project is hoping to register 2,100 new voters by the October 20 deadline.
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Chen says for the last few days until the deadline the group’s strategy will be to become a presence that can’t be ignored. Volunteers will fan out from classrooms to every corner of the campus. "We'll have a table and we'll just be basically out with clipboards and asking passersby as they come by if they've registered to vote," Chen said. And the students won’t even have to worry about mailing in the forms. New Voters Project volunteers will hand-deliver completed registration forms to the County Clerk’s office.
The New Voters Project has been around for twenty-five years. Project Director, Sujatha Jahagirdar, said the goal nationally is to register 100-thousand new young voters. Jahagirdar said, “Studies show that people who vote when they’re younger are much, much more likely to vote when they’re older.”
Historically young voters have not shown up in large numbers on Election Day. That’s why USC sophomore Jennifer Cardamone got involved with The New Voters Project. Cardamone said, “It's really important for students to register and make their voices heard.”