Stanford’s pilot partnership with UVote, a voter registration program created at Northwestern University, registered 786 students and faculty to vote this year. The California voter registration deadline passed on Oct. 22. The new voter registration program replaced less centralized student group efforts from past years, but did not register as many voters. According to Lindsay Lamont ’13, president of the Stanford Democrats, one of the most effective methods used in past years was having “dorm captains” in each residence responsible for asking students if they were registered to vote. Lamont estimates that approximately 1,000 students registered to vote in each of the 2008 and 2010 election seasons. Sixty-six percent of new voters at Stanford this year registered to vote in California. UVote staff also helped out-of-state students fill out absentee ballot requests and mailed these forms when possible.
“UVote was less effective in terms of total number of students registered,” Lamont said. “But it was much more effective in giving students the opportunity to register to vote out of state and helping them request absentee ballots.” Tom Schnaubelt, executive director of the Haas Center, was approached by the Northwestern University’s Center for Civic Engagement about the possibility of launching UVote at Stanford. Schnaubelt agreed after hearing about the program’s success rate at Northwestern, where 90 percent of the incoming freshman class registered to vote in the program’s pilot year. At Northwestern, every freshman had to go through a UVote station during university registration. UVote volunteers at Stanford set up tables at the fall activities fair, the Haas Center’s public service open house and in dining halls and near bike registration lines during New Student Orientation to target freshmen. However, only 320 of Stanford’s UVote registrees were freshmen, according to Haas Center executive assistant Maria Fraboni.