voting

From left: UF President Kent Fuchs assists Natalie Evelev, an 18-year-old UF biomedical engineering freshman, with registering to vote at the Voter Registration Drive with UF President Kent Fuchs and Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton outside the Reitz Union on Monday afternoon. Evelev said she wanted to register to vote.

By enticing them with food, UF President Kent Fuchs convinced seven students to register to vote Monday.

“I’ve walked around and harassed students that hadn’t registered,” Fuchs said. “I had an advantage, though. I had the cookie plate with me.”

Fuchs encouraged students to register to vote and get civically involved by giving them sugar cookies. His efforts were part of an event held by the Bob Graham Center and the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections from 4 to 5 p.m. on the Reitz Union breezeway. A total of 15 students registered, said Shelby Taylor, the communications director for the Bob Graham Center.

Taylor said she hoped to reach about 200 students in some way — by having them register to vote, update their registration to vote in Alachua County or get more involved in the voting process.

About 80 percent of UF students are currently registered, Taylor said, but she wants to make that number closer to 100. Because of that, the center will hold more events including civic trivia and debate watch parties before National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 29, which is the last day to register to cast a ballot in November.

At about 4:30 p.m., Fuchs and Kim Barton, the Alachua County supervisor of elections who also participated in the event, walked into the Reitz Union food court.

Some students asked Fuchs for selfies.

“Can I be in the picture too?” Barton asked. “I’m somebody.”

Barton said she was excited to tell students about online registration and encourage them to volunteer as poll workers.

“It’s important to us that students have an important voice with their vote,” Barton said.

Claire Generato, a UF industrial engineering sophomore, said it’s nice Fuchs cares about the Student Body registering to vote because it’s an important process.

“In the grand scheme of things, you think you’re just one vote out of a million, but your opinion can really change things,” the 20-year-old said.

Contact Robert Lewis at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @Lewis__Robert

Robert Lewis, a UF journalism sophomore, covers the crime beat for the Alligator. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his hometown of Miami, Florida. Robert has not let his dream of being funny die, though several friends have urged him to.