UW Pokes Vote Makes Impact on Polling Numbers

November 6, 2008

Americans' voices were heard loud and clear election day, but no matter who won or lost, one group on the University of Wyoming campus is celebrating a different victory.

Volunteers with Pokes Vote, a non-partisan cooperative campaign that maximizes student civic engagement and leadership development through voter education, registration and turn-out, reported higher voter registration numbers and voter turnout at the polls for Tuesday's election.

Coordinator Matt Haigler says Pokes Vote committed its efforts to, "getting college-aged students engaged in their democratic community by voting."

"The hard work paid off with the Pokes Vote team and volunteers helping more than 600 people pre-register to vote on the UW campus and in the Laramie community," he says. "Nearly 3,500 people were newly registered in Albany County for the 2008 election."

While Pokes Vote could not take all the credit, he says it was safe to say the initiative played a part in increasing those numbers.

Haigler says 17,261 votes were cast in Albany County, an increase of 5,000 votes from 2006. More than 1,650 people registered to vote Nov. 4. Before Pokes Vote began its efforts, there were 13,816 registered voters.

Throughout the campaign season Pokes Vote held several registration drives, provided voter and candidate guides and assisted with the new polling place at the UW American Heritage Center.

A recognizable presence on campus, Pokes Vote organized transportation to the polls and hosted a table in the Wyoming Union Nov. 3-4, to answer questions and provide information to voters.

Haigler says organization volunteers handed out 3,500 Pokes Vote stickers.

"I am satisfied with our efforts and see a bright future for Pokes Vote," Haigler says.

For more information about Pokes Vote and Student Leadership and Civic Engagement (SLCE), visit the Web site at www.uwyo.edu/slce.

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