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Penn Leads the Vote is committed to increasing voter turnout on campus for national elections. Photo by Rebecca Elias Abboud

Photo: Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

Penn Leads the Vote is back in action for this year’s presidential election. In addition to its continuing efforts on voter registration, it aims to promote a voting culture at Penn and promote voting around campus.

Penn Leads the Vote is a student-led, nonpartisan Get Out The Vote organization founded in 2004. Throughout the years, PLTV has been encouraging voter registration and provided voting guidance. Since 2004, Penn Leads the Vote has registered over 10,000 Penn undergraduates to vote. The Fox Leadership program hired two students as fellows, and they work under Penn's Office of Government and Community Affairs.

This year, PLTV continues to address its main goal of undergraduate students’ voter registration. In addition, PLTV has shifted its goals to focus more on establishing a voting culture environment at Penn.

“For us, it’s more about changing the culture. Of course registration is still important. We still trying to get as many as we can. But we shift our focus just a little bit in terms of reaching out to groups and get everyone engaged,” College junior and Fox fellow Daniel Lilling said.

The main distinguishing characteristics of PLTV are its student-driven effort and its nonpartisan nature.

“I think what is very distinct about PLTV is that the main focus is always on the students," Executive Director of the Fox Leadership Program Joseph Tierney said. "It is a student led GOTV effort to register Penn undergrads, and to promote a voting culture among the students."

Penn has added a few new polling stations this year, and PLTV is working to make a new polling map. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, PLTV sets up a station on Locust Walk to register voters and provide information about polling locations and other details.

Some members mentioned that the controversy of the current presidential race has affected voters' willingness to vote.

“I know a lot of people they don’t really love the choices we have for president right now, and are kind of deciding not to vote,” College junior and PLTV member Lacy Wright said.

In a year in which the presidential election is getting a lot of attention, PLTV members are emphasizing the importance of voting in local as well as national elections.

“The most important thing is always the local election. Your voice actually matters a lot more," Wright said.

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