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Chancellor's voter registration drive nets 4,200 forms, media attention

October 3, 2008 : Teresa Dunham

Liberty University is enjoying a wave of media attention for its campus-wide campaign to register student voters locally. As of Monday's 4 p.m. registration deadline, LU Commuter Affairs officials had collected and submitted 4,200 forms.

Meanwhile, media interest remained high throughout the week. CBS “The Early Show” filmed an interview with Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. at the Carter Class Mansion scheduled to air today, and National Public Radio recorded a segment expected to air on “Morning Edition” today. Falwell also participated in a 15-minute live interview on XM Radio’s POTUS Channel 130.

Falwell said the questions posed by media outlets were straightforward and factual, tapping into why LU asked its students to vote and how the voter registration campaign could impact the election.

“Liberty is really breaking some new ground with this voter registration drive. Next time it may be dozens of colleges doing it,” Falwell said. “It’s getting a lot of attention.”

The Washington Post, The Associated Press and CNN are among high-profile media outlets that have contributed to the national attention.

Falwell first kicked off the voter registration campaign on Sept. 22, urging students to register and cast their ballots locally. Voter registration forms were distributed to on-campus students at hall meetings, and professors handed out forms to commuters; a vast response motivated 20 students to help city workers process the paperwork.

Falwell told students that besides it being more convenient for them, voting in Lynchburg as a group will have a “much bigger impact than if your votes are just scattered across many different jurisdictions.”

“Local elections directly affect the amount of tuition you pay here at Liberty more than you realize,” he said.

To show its commitment to the voter campaign, LU is cancelling classes on Election Day and offering bus service to the polls. Two weeks ago, the Chancellor also sent out an email asking LU faculty and staff to vote.

“Liberty students have never been permitted to register locally in the past. The recent change in election law is giving Liberty University the chance to make history. Liberty University’s 11,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff could cause Liberty to become known as the university that elected a president!” the email stated.