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Students work to get out vote

These days, MSNBC is on all the time at Minnesota State University Moorhead's student senate office. Students are closely following as the presidential campaign unfolds, and several groups are working to educate students on the election, MSUM jun...

Sheila DeHart

These days, MSNBC is on all the time at Minnesota State University Moorhead's student senate office.

Students are closely following as the presidential campaign unfolds, and several groups are working to educate students on the election, MSUM junior Jennifer Weil said.

The Minnesota State University Student Association is leading a push to get students registered to vote, said Weil, the group's vice chairwoman.

It's also informing students how to vote with an absentee ballot and what identification they need to bring to the polls, she said.

The MSUM Society of Professional Journalists is expecting more than 100 people for a DebateWatch event next week.

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Participants will gather to watch the presidential debate and then have a discussion.

Next week is Rock the Vote Week at North Dakota State University.

It features a gathering for the presidential debate and a live debate between the Campus Democrats and the Campus Republicans.

An informational booth will provide students with objective information about the election and how to vote.

Junior Trisha McDonald said she's expecting a large turnout for the events.

"It just seems like people are really educating themselves about the issues," said McDonald, who is helping coordinate the week with Campus Attractions.

Concordia College also has hosted similar events, including an event where 150 students registered to vote. Minnesota State Community and Technical College has a table with voter information for students.

In the hallways and the classrooms of Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead, students can be heard having spirited conversations about politics, said Shawn Anderson, dean of students.

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Rather than only talking about candidates, Anderson said it seems like students are talking more this year about issues such as the cost of education and the economy.

"Students are a lot less concerned with voting party lines but more concerned with issues this year," Anderson said.

No polling site at MSU Moorhead

An effort by MSUM to make the student union a polling site for this year's presidential election has been unsuccessful.

Last year, MSUM student leaders proposed moving the polling place for Precinct 2 of the Second Ward to campus to encourage more students to vote.

The polling site at one time was in MSUM's Nemzek Hall, but it was moved in 1992 a few blocks south to Grace United Methodist Church.

Kaye Bucholz, Moorhead's city clerk, said the city attorney explored with the Minnesota secretary of state the option of making MSUM a satellite polling site. But that is not permissible under state law, she said.

MSUM's student senate will continue to provide transportation to the polls for students who live on campus.

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NDSU and Concordia have campus polling sites.

MSUM spokesman Doug Hamilton said officials will continue working to make the university a polling site for future elections.

"It was very unfortunate that it didn't happen this time because there was so much interest it," Hamilton said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

or adalrymple@forumcomm.com

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