Registrar of voters

Amanda Judge

Photo By David Robert

Amanda Judge, 23, is a senior psychology major at the University of Nevada, Reno. Three weeks ago, she joined the New Voter’s Project. This non-partisan organization was launched on the UNR campus in January 2004. The project is supported by the Pew Charitable Trust and is headed by the Student Public Interest Research Group. The project targets ages 18-24 as a voting block with the ability to influence American politics. Check out its Web site at www.newvotersproject.org.

What issues pertain to young people that you would like politicians to begin addressing?

I think job opportunities are a big issue for graduating students. Student loans should be addressed and issues that pertain to us as soon as we get out of college that aren’t being addressed.

What is your goal?

For the group, I would really like to see students get out of their apathy. Have the group focus on making students realize they can make a difference so those politicians cannot ignore us anymore. We are trying to register 1,200 students on the UNR campus before the November elections and contact 5,000 students before they go out and vote.

How many people are involved in the project?

There are seven or eight interns and 20-30 volunteers.

What is the New Voter’s Project Plan of Action?

Well, the beginning of this semester, we went into classes to get students to pledge to vote, and we will contact them to make sure they get out there. Blitz week is Oct. 2-4, where we will be on campus all day. A table will be set up on the JTSU lawn. Our people will be walking the campus to get people to pledge to vote.

Where and how can young people register to vote?

The easiest way to do it would be to find us during Blitz week. We will have a table set up at Nightingale Hall during the governor’s debate on Monday. Throughout the next couple of weeks, we’ll have a table set up in the dining commons, too. It only takes two minutes to register.

How could students contribute to this project if they wanted to?

If you want to help, you can help register people to vote. We do a lot of calling and projects, such as I’m doing now, making posters, talking to the media and manning the tables. We are always looking for people, as there is always something to help with.

Why is this project important to you?

I’ve always been interested in politics. I’m tired of just complaining about things. I’ve always voted, but I wanted to do more to get people to participate in voting.

What benefits do you receive for your participation?

For me, personally, it just feels good at the end of the day to know that I’m contributing to an important cause. It makes me feel good about the project and the people that I’m working with. I’ve met some really passionate and open-minded people. We are just doing our part for one cause that is non-partisan. It’s just getting people to care.

What about young people who are not on the UNR campus?

We’re trying to go into all the high schools and find interested seniors. We’re also trying to branch out through our friends to other groups and clubs, but the UNR campus is our main focus.