In home stretch, a push for turnout
October 5, 2010, 4:51 am·
Now that registration for the Nov. 2 midterm elections is over, Penn’s political groups will shift gears to focus on voter turnout among both students and area residents.
College senior Jared Fries, executive co-director of Penn Leads the Vote — a nonpartisan voter mobilization group — said the organization registered 123 students Monday, for a total of 841 this semester, “and that’s not including all of those who sent the forms we placed in their mailboxes by themselves.”
The number is more than half of the 1,521 students that voted during the previous midterm election in 2006. But PLTV will still be working from today until Election Day.
“One of the things we’re working on is making sure the campus is ready for Election Day,” Fries said. Among the preparations is a collaboration with an “Introduction to American Politics” class which will allow those involved to, on Nov. 2, see which registered students have not yet voted. With the polls staffed, “we will be able to remind them, ‘hey, it’s Election Day, polls close at eight,’” Fries said.
He also said PLTV will try to inform students about the candidates. “We’ll be making sure students know who the candidates are through nonpartisan outreach,” he said, offering as an example PLTV’s Twitter feed — which displays tweets from senatorial and gubernatorial candidates from both parties.
Penn Democrats president and College junior Emma Ellman-Golan did not have the number of students registered by Penn Dems as of press time, but she confirmed that the group’s strategy will now focus on getting students to the polls.
“It’s really important for the Democratic Party in Philadelphia — the city has a huge registration advantage for the Democrats, and at this point, the most important thing is getting people to the polls,” she said.
Turnout tactics for Penn Dems will include canvassing in West Philadelphia, which Ellman-Golan said is “the most effective way to get people to vote.”
According to Penn College Republicans president and Engineering junior Peter Terpeluk, voter registration was never a large part of the College Republicans’ strategy, as it was not “an important priority to any of the election campaigns.”
Though College Republicans will offer phone-banking and canvassing opportunities to students, its “efforts right now are on the local community,” Terpeluk said.