The Yale College Council unanimously passed a resolution Sunday asking the administration to include instructions on voter registration in orientations given by freshman counselors.
Despite the inclusion of voter registration cards in the packet handed out to all incoming students, registration among freshmen has been chronically low.
“The voter registration card is the one card included in the freshman packet that is not discussed in the freshman orientation meeting,” said Sam Asher ’04, who co-authored the resolution with Brad Kahn ’04.
The resolution asks Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg to meet with student organizations, including the nonpartisan voter registration group Voice Your Vote All Over New Haven, to “create a program designed to educate freshman counselors regarding the importance and logistics of voter registration in New Haven.”
Freshman counselors should then allot time during the orientation meeting for freshmen to learn about voter registration and give the students the chance to fill out the proper forms if they so desire, the resolution says.
Under the current policy, discussion of voter registration is left up to the discretion of the freshman counselors, who are not required to make any mention of the forms. In the fall of 2000, only 40 freshmen filled out the cards distributed to them.
As a result of errors made on the forms, fewer than 20 were actually registered to vote.
“People filled out addresses incorrectly,” Kahn said. “They did things that could be easily avoided, stupid mistakes people make when filling out a semi-complicated form.”
Lisena DeSantis ’05, who registered to vote at the freshman bazaar rather than with the card, said the resolution would be helpful to freshmen.
“I think it’s a good idea because at Yale people really care, but the majority aren’t aware how to exercise their voice in government,” she said.
Asher said he was pleased about the passing of the resolution, adding that he thought it would be easy to implement.