Mpls. Mayor R.T. Rybak vows to get more students to vote

Brady Averill

In a meeting to discuss the upcoming election, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak pledged to do everything possible to get more students to vote at Coffman Union on Wednesday.

It is “borderline obscene” for people who are affected by issues not to vote, he said.

More like a casual conversation than a business meeting, Rybak spoke in khakis and without a tie about ways students can inspire others to register and vote in November.

The Student Public Affairs Coalition – a partnership between the Minnesota Student Association and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly – invited the mayor to speak at the event.

To encourage more students to vote, Rybak suggested

they walk with him in the

homecoming parade and distribute election question-and-answer forms at popular events.

Approximately 20 students attended the event.

“I’m really into politics, so when I saw fliers around, I decided to come,” first-year student Eddie Glenn said.

Amy Jo Pierce, the MSA vice president, said several other elected politicians will be invited to the coalition’s upcoming events.

Last week, the coalition registered 300 students to vote, said Dan Miller, GAPSA vice president of public affairs (no relation to The Minnesota Daily reporter Dan Miller).

First-year student Emily Haase did not attend the forum, but said she will vote anyway.

Though Rybak spoke at the same time she was studying in Coffman Union, Haase said she didn’t know the event was happening.

“I didn’t even hear about it. I probably would have thought about it if I had,” she said.

Despite the efforts of Rybak and several other politicians who have stressed students should vote in the election, only 53 students voted Tuesday in the University’s precinct.

That number is of some concern, Miller said, but Minnesota’s primary was not very competitive.

“I think maybe people just don’t know what their options are,” Haase said.

Transfer student Chad Herner, who will vote by absentee ballot, said he thought it was sad more students did not vote in the primary.

However, it is something that needs to be better publicized, he said.

“I didn’t hear there was a primary, so I’m not much better myself,” he said.

The message must continue, Haase said.

“The more that people hear it’s their responsibility to vote Ö the more it will get through to them,” she said.