UNM students who do not live in Albuquerque can still be involved in city elections

Students at the University of New Mexico who are not from Albuquerque have the opportunity to participate in future municipal elections, even though they may not be registered to vote in the city.

Students from other cities and states may feel somewhat displaced when it comes to political participation, especially in city elections. But they still have the opportunity to get involved in local politics.

Albuquerque City Clerk Amy Bailey said some students wish to stay registered to vote in their own city, but may also want to become active in city politics.

“If students want to participate, they can work on election day as poll workers.” Bailey said. The city is always looking for volunteers to work the polls, but volunteers must be trained. The city clerk offers poll-training classes in the weeks leading up to elections to teach participants what their legal responsibility is as poll workers and how to handle any special incidents that may occur on election day, such as how to deal with a person who wishes to vote but is not registered.

Timothy Krebs, a political science professor at UNM who has taught several classes specifically about city politics, said the best thing a student can do is to offer their service to a candidate campaign.

“You could pick up the phone or send an email to a city council candidate, and they would be happy to take you up on an offer of service,” Krebs said. He said this is the easiest and most direct way to get involved in local politics.

UNM President David Schmidly encouraged students to vote. He said there is nothing more important as responsible citizens than to vote and become aware of issues.

“It is the safest way to protect our democracy,” he said. “One thing you would like to think is that we are educating our students to be good citizens. In my opinion, part of being a good citizen is meeting your obligation to vote.” He hopes students are informing themselves of what is going on in the communities around campus because those issues can affect them while they are in Albuquerque attending school. Students have the option of changing their voter registration to the city in which they reside.

Bailey said students should learn about the councilors who represent the city in which they live by reading the city website, attending city council meetings, and educating themselves on the issues that are specific to their district. She said city government deals with issues that are important to students, such as bonds, streets and libraries.

Even though Albuquerque city elections are over for this year, students have the same opportunities to become involved in the 2012 presidential election and the 2014 state elections. Candidates will still need volunteers to help with their campaigns and the county will be looking to train more poll workers to facilitate election day next November.

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