Friday, December 09, 2005

Stuffing the absentee ballot box 

It's quite telling to me how our campus thinks about politics. While Sue Ek fights to keep her claim on being able to run for office in St. Cloud, the university community is committed to being sure its voters get to vote. Particularly students. In campus email today, a message from the student government:
The St. Cloud State Student Government is sponsoring a absentee registration and vote drive for the special election to be held on Dec. 27th. We are doing this because most students will not be around to vote in the district they live in on that date. This is a very important election because it is for both the state Senate and Minnesota House of Reprsentative seats that represent the SCSU and the community surrounding it. Without student votes in this election there can not be representation for student needs in a student district.

The Student Government is also sponsoring a van that will be running back and forth from Atwood to the Stearns County Court House on Dec. 13th. Students will be taken to the court house so that they may register to vote and cast their absentee ballot in person and with assistance if they need it. In order to register, voters must have proof of residence which is usually a utility bill in the voter's name.

Allow me to remind Student Government that House District 15B contains all of St. Cloud, Waite Park, Rockville, St. Augusta, and some outlying areas to the south. It had over 19000 voters in it in the general in 2004. The senate district is over 40,000. And you want to call it "a student district"???

The faculty union has made a similar call for absentee voting, asking faculty to tell students to vote.
You can also take a moment in class to remind students to vote and inform them of how they can absentee vote. After all, an important aspect of higher education is to encourage responsible citizenship.

So let me be sure I understand this: Someone who lives in a dorm can vote in November in her home district, get on a bus, register to vote and vote absentee here, and go home for semester break, and then change back her registration.

And her vote counts as much as someone who lived in St. Cloud all his life?

How does this "encourage responsible citizenship"?

Of course our student government has political goals that extend beyond education funding. Indeed, they do not know their boundaries. Who is teaching them "responsible citizenship"?