Voter Registration Contest Ends With UC Berkeley on Top

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Eat our chads, Stanford.

UC Berkeley registered enough voters Friday to win a statewide competition for a free campus concert before the Nov. 5 election day.

Youth Vote volunteers tallied 743 UC Berkeley student registrants, beating out 12 other colleges and universities from across the state-including Stanford University. The intercollegiate competition was the first of its kind.

"The numbers from Berkeley were phenomenal," said Lynne Lyman, program coordinator of Rock the Vote, the organization sponsoring the contest. "That's amazing to do that in one day."

The victory comes as the UC Student Association launches a week-long voter registration campaign today. Members of the association aim to register a minimum of 48,000 UC students, sponsoring events throughout the week such as debates, voter education sessions, community outreach events and concerts.

Rock the Vote is a nationwide non-profit organization that seeks to raise political awareness among 18- to 24-year-olds.

"What we're trying to do is bring the politics to where the young people are-whether that's clubs, concerts, street festivals or the Internet," Lyman said. "We want to empower young people to change their communities, change their worlds, run for public office. Voting is the first step."

The 2000 U.S. census found that only 32 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds nationwide voted in the 2000 presidential election. Rock the Vote representatives said they aim to increase voter registration in this demographic, which has the lowest reported voting turnout.

"Anything that can be done to increase voters and get them registered is great," said Marjorie Rubinow, a member of the League of Women Voters of California.

After registering the voters, some members of UC Berkeley Youth Vote and Rock the Vote said they will remind newly registered voters to vote on election day.

"Every single person who registers with Rock the Vote gets a follow-up mailing encouraging them to vote," Lyman said.

Registrants who listed their phone numbers will also receive an automated telephone call from a celebrity reminding them to vote, Lyman added.

"Last week, it was LL Cool J," she said. "You never know who it will be next week."

Members of UC Berkeley's Youth Vote said they will distribute voter registration guides throughout campus and call registered voters on the phone.

Lyman said Rock the Vote is "definitely considering" making the intercollegiate competition an annual event.


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