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Shaw Students Participate in Democracy Day

September 13, 2013 – Students from Shaw and St. Augustine's universities in Raleigh delivered hundreds of voter registrations to Wake County elections officials Friday to qualify students for the local elections next month.

Friday was the deadline to register to vote in the Oct. 8 election, which features school construction and transportation bond referendums in Wake County, as well as races for four Board of Education seats and Raleigh mayor and City Council seats.

About 700 freshmen and transfer students at Shaw and St. Augustine's registered during the two-week voter drive, which amounts to about 90 percent of the freshman class at St. Augustine's and 50 percent at Shaw.

Robert Gray, a junior at St. Augustine's, said the voter drive was designed to increase awareness.

"I hope to get a lot of people politically engaged, politically aware of what's going on – how politics affects where you stay, what you eat, the type of education you receive, the money you make," Gray said. "I really hope to get the word out."

Students are upset about sweeping changes to North Carolina election laws passed by the General Assembly this summer, he said, adding that they need to channel that anger toward involvement in campaigns and getting people to the polls.

A new state law requires voters to present photo identification at the polls starting in 2016, eliminates same-day registration and ends early registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. It also calls for changes to campaign finance and advertising regulations.

Durham, Chapel Hill and Fayetteville will hold primary elections on Oct. 8, with mayoral candidates on the ballot in all three cities.

This story was written by Laura Leslie and originally appeared on on Friday, September 13, 2013.