Washington Secretary of State candidate Tina Podlodowski discussed the need to improve voter turnout with Western’s Associated Students on Saturday, April 2.
Western averages eight voters registered per hour of volunteering. With over 3,000 students registered in 2015 alone, it holds the top three records for most voters registered in one day at any college in Washington, according to Associated Students of Western Washington University Voter Access and Civic Education.
While Podlodowski has visited 49 legislative districts so far, her campaign has not reached many campuses yet, she said.
“Coming to Western was a stop that absolutely, positively had to happen,” Podlodowski said. “If you want to talk about voting concerns, voting rights and student voting, Western is where you come.”
One issue Podlodowski insisted on was a broader access to voting.
“I really believe the more people and the more diverse people we have voting, the better policies we’ll have,” Podlodowski said.
Podlodowski and the AS point to poor access and voting education as the largest deterrent for voting.
“I think the lack of access causes apathy,” Podlodowski said. “If you hit too many barriers, you’re not going to go down that road. It feels like one that’s not accessible.”
Providing better access for people can enable them to realize that the system works for them and their vote counts, she said.
“I think people don’t really see that their vote matters or that it’s accessible.” AS Legislative Affairs Council Henry Pollet said.
Creating accessibility is what the AS has done on campus. On move-in days students are asked if they’re registered to vote and are given the opportunity to, said Dylan Hansen, a registered sophomore.
The registration process is simple and quick, Hansen said.
“I thought it was going to be a thing where I had to show my ID, do all these different things and go to an office, but it was just a fill-out form,”Hansen said.
*Article updated on April 3 at 1:53 p.m. for organization.