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Washington Post features LU’s voter registration campaign

September 16, 2008 : Mitzi Bible

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.’s recent announcement of a university-wide voter registration campaign, urging Liberty students to vote as residents of Lynchburg in the upcoming elections, has caught the attention of national media outlets.

The Washington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education each featured the endeavor recently.

The Sept. 15 Washington Post stated, “Falwell’s efforts to register Liberty students, many of whom might be inclined to support GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), may be an unprecedented step by such a high-ranking college official, political observers say.”

Falwell has said Liberty’s votes collectively could make a difference this November. The article went on to say that he “is not exaggerating when he says his efforts could shape the outcome of the presidential race in Virginia.”

The article cited two recent Virginia elections — the U.S. Senate race in 2006 and the attorney general’s race in 2005, both decided by fewer than 10,000 votes.

The campaign, which was announced at last Wednesday’s convocation, will hit the campus Tuesday night as RAs (student leaders in Liberty’s residence halls) pass out voter registration forms at their hall meetings. Professors have been instructed to hand out forms to commuters.

Liberty University now has 10,500 students who are eligible to vote. The deadline to register is Oct. 6.

Last Wednesday, Falwell said about 20 out of the 26 college towns in Virginia allow college students to register locally, including Lynchburg.

He cited the Higher Education Act of 1998 that requires all colleges and universities to make a good faith effort to provide voter registration forms to all students.

He also announced that classes will be canceled on Election Day and buses will be available to transport students to the polls. An all-day concert will be held in the Vines Center and, in the evening, it will become an election party, with returns broadcast on the big screens.