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After voter ID law changes, student groups hope to use extra funds to register people to vote

‘Voterpalooza’ will take place this Friday

Voterpalooza will take place Friday afternoon.

Image By: Alicia Shoberg

Students in Wisconsin face a number of barriers when registering to vote, but an event this week hopes to alleviate some of the challenges.

Associated Students of Madison, in coordination with other campus groups including The Andrew Goodman Foundation's Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and the Morgridge Center for Public Service, will host “Voterpalooza” Friday from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. The goal of the event, quite simply, is to register people to vote — but the reality is more complicated than that.

Voter ID laws have made it increasingly more difficult for students, especially out-of-state students, to cast ballots. Yogev Ben-Yitschak, ASM’s outreach coordinator, says the goal of the event is not only to get more people registered, but also to inform students that they may need to do more than they think in order to participate in the democratic process.

“If your address changed from last year, you need to re-register,” Ben-Yitschak said. “And then, if you don’t have a Wisconsin state ID, it gets a little bit harder.”

Ben-Yitschak added that new laws make it so that event organizers cannot technically register people to vote, but can only show them how to complete the process themselves.

Despite these hurdles, ASM is hoping that it can get as many students registered as possible — and there is a competitive element to the event this year as well. UW-Madison is part of the Big Ten Voter Challenge, which pits schools in the conference against each other; whoever gets the most students registered wins.

Because of the challenge, Chancellor Rebecca Blank put aside $10,000 for the Morgridge Center to attempt to increase voter registration, according to Ben-Yitschak. He hopes the organizers can put the money to good use.

“The Big Ten Voter Challenge is what motivated us to do [Voterpalooza],” Ben-Yitschak said. “It’s what’s driving part of the spirit behind the event … we want to show that Badger pride.”

Voterpalooza will take place at Library Mall and WSUM, UW-Madison’s student radio station, will play music during the event. Pizza will also be provided to those who register.

UPDATE Nov. 9, 5:00 p.m.: This post was updated to clarify that Vote Everywhere Ambassadors is a program of the Andrew Goodman Center.

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