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Fox tries to stop student votes
2004-09-09, 3:25 p.m.

You won't believe what has just happened in Arizona. A local Arizona Fox News reporter said that the University of Arizona Network of Feminist Student Activists (an affiliate of the Feminist Majority Foundation) might be committing an “unintentional felony” by registering out-of-state students to vote in Arizona. The feminist group was singled out at a student voter registration fair at the University of Arizona.

Even worse, the Fox reporter interviewed an official with the Pima County Recorder's office, Chris Rhodes, who was quoted on-camera as saying that if students are “only here to attend school and their intention is to immediately return to where they came from when school is over then they are not residents of the state of Arizona for voting purposes and they cannot register to vote here.” He erroneously stated that students would be committing a “felony offense” if they lied about their residency status.

No wonder college students are under-registered and under-voting! It's not apathy – it is erroneous and misleading information often designed to suppress student voting.

The Arizona County Recorder official could not be more wrong. The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the voting age to 18. Voting is a federal right, and the rights of students to register to vote where they attend college is guaranteed by federal law in federal elections. The U.S. Supreme Court has expressly ruled that college communities must allow students to register to vote there (US v Symm) and the Federal Voting Rights Act prohibits states from imposing “durational residency requirements.”

Outraged over the apparent attempts to discourage students from voting, the students have formed a campus-wide coalition and are challenging the County Official 's statements. “We are redoubling our Get Out HER Vote registration activities,” said Juliana Zuccaro, of the Network of Feminist Student Activists. “We're not going to be intimidated …. We are determined that students' voices are heard in this election and our issues addressed.”

The students immediately contacted the FMF, which is consulting with national legal experts in voting rights. This is not the first time the Feminist Majority Foundation has confronted misinformation that has suppressed student voter registration and voting. In state referendum campaigns on abortion rights since the mid-1980s, we have encountered state and local election officials who have discouraged student voter registration drives. When challenged in court, such election officials' instructions that have reduced student voting have been struck down.

Help us make sure that attempts to suppress student votes doesn't succeed – donate now to give us the necessary resources to stop the suppression of student votes.

You can also help us spread the word about the importance of voting on November 2 by wearing one of our brand-new Get Out Her Vote t-shirts. In black with radical raspberry lettering, the t-shirts are emblazoned with the slogan: Vote As If Your Life Depends On It. We only have a limited quantity of the t-shirts, so get yours today!

And join Get Out Her Vote, our nationwide student voter registration, education, and mobilization campaign focused on young women on college campuses. We will be working not only in Arizona but across the country to register students to vote and to counter any efforts to suppress their votes.

Only one-third of young women (18-24) voted in the 2000 presidential election. However, because elections today are frequently decided by tiny margins, the mobilization of young people has the potential to change the public debate in many states and perhaps the country as a whole.


previous entries:

Anyone? - 2008-01-24
Saturday Film Series at The Free Speech Zone - 2005-12-30
SLC? - 2005-12-21
Please Post - 2005-07-24
From ImpeachBush.org - 2005-06-20

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"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.