Politicians and student leaders host event downtown for National Voter Registration Day

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs was one of many guests speaking at the National Voter Registration Day Rally at the Beus Center for Law and Society to encourage registration for ASU students on the downtown Phoenix campus.

Hobbs joined students and local political advocates at an event led by the Andrew Goodman Foundation and Register Her, two civic engagement groups that promote election registration in underrepresented communities. The event was hosted by Watts College Public Service & Community Solutions and had an introduction by Watts Associate Dean Joanna Lucio.

Hobbs spoke briefly about when and where ASU students could register to vote and where to get accurate voting information. She praised the high turnout in recent years and encouraged the sparsely populated audience to get involved in local politics. She asked the students to spread the registration and register as poll workers.

“Hopefully you and your friends remain engaged, especially at a time when, as you’ve heard, democracy is at stake,” Hobbs said.

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Hobbs did not mention that she was running for governor.

The first student to speak was Izzy Redmond, a veteran gymnast studying conservation biology. She spoke about a trip she took with fellow students to Alabama to explore key civil rights milestones, where she felt the impact of her right to vote, and spoke about the power college students have when they vote.

“I think that’s what gets lost a lot, especially with young college students who don’t really understand that they have such an impact,” Redmond said. “You have a lot of power.”

Another student who spoke to rally students to register to vote was senior Fernanda Ruiz Martinez, an ambassador for Vote Everywhere, a college campus initiative of the Andrew Goodman Foundation. She said there is only so much organizations can do to engage students.

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“There is definitely a need for students to become more aware of the importance of voting. Much work has been put into promoting civic engagement through myASU across campuses,” said Ruiz Martinez. “But in the end it’s about how else can we invite students to these events because some people think they’re super-political.”

Juana Chavez was invited to speak with the Dolores Huerta Foundation, a California advocacy group focused on electoral reform in underrepresented communities. She has decades of advocacy experience and speaks specifically about women’s voting and how important their voice is on issues like abortion rights.

She was more optimistic about the students who showed up for the event than those who didn’t.

“It only takes a few dedicated locals to go out and spread the word,” Chavez said. “The people who are here are here because they stand up for our democracy and promote full participation. So I have no doubt that they will take what they have gained here today and carry the message to their friends and families.”

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Sharing similar optimism about the low turnout, Redmond said she could see the few attendees making a bigger difference after the event.

“If you can do a little bit to get involved and get your voice heard, that impact will be bigger than you think,” Redmond said.

Edited by Reagan Priest, Piper Hansen and Grace Copperthite

Reach the reporter at [email protected] and @shanebrennan36 on twitter.

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Shane BrennanPolitical Reporter

Shane Brennan is a political reporter. He was previously a sportswriter and currently works for Blaze Radio and Downtown Devil.

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