High Number of UConn Students Registering to Vote; Students Want To Be Heard

The last day to register to vote before Election Day is Tuesday and University of Connecticut students were making sure their peers were registered to cast their ballot.

Members of the non-partisan UConn Public Interest Research Group (UConnPIRG) were out by the library rallying and signing students up.

“I think it’s really important for people our age to register. I feel like a lot of kids our age don’t care about politics,” said UConn junior Engie Shahidy, who registered as a Democrat on campus Tuesday.

The Mansfield Registrar of Voters office is seeing UConn students registering in force. Tuesday alone officials said they received around 400 new voter registrations from students. There were also hundreds this week, on top of the 1,200 they accounted for since Oct. 1.

They’ve compared the numbers to a presidential election.

Several are first-time voters, like Chad Schroeder, who’s part of UConnPRIG.

“I’m really hoping that the young people take this election to consider their role in the future of this country,” Schroeder said.

Senior Emma Burns went to the Registrar of Voter’s office to sign up to vote for the first time. Though she’s had the option to vote before, this is the first election she’s taking part in.

“I made the mistake of not voting in past elections and they haven’t turned out the way I wanted them to. So I decided I need to put my voice into our government,” Burns said. “I don’t have a right to complain about who’s in power if I don’t try to make a change.”

Several students said they want their voice to be heard.

“I wanted to make sure my voice is heard and we’re creating fundamental change where it’s the most important. Well, where we can make the most fundamental change at this time,” said Xavier Arriaga about the midterm election and local races. He’s a senior on campus and a registered Democrat.

Many are focusing on specific issues.

“Like LGBT rights, access to healthcare and education,” senior Danny Zhu, a registered Democrat, said.

“I want the (candidates) who are voting for women’s rights and better budgets for the state,” said Alexandra Garcia, a UConn senior and Democrat. She used her break from work to register to vote on campus Tuesday.

“The rhetoric surrounding immigration. As a product of immigrants it’s critically important that we consider our neighbors all around the world and how we’re treating them,” said senior Aziz Sandhu, who also is registered blue.

“We’ve had one-party rule Connecticut for a while now and it’s time for a change,” sophomore Max Turgeon said.

Turgeon is the vice president of the UConn College Republicans and is focusing on lowering taxes and tuition costs. He said his group has been talking to anyone they can about voting.

“I think politics is being talked about a lot more than usual especially in the classroom or even in the dining hall,” he said.

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