On the heels of last year’s historic election and record-breaking numbers of young voters nationwide, there has been a marked decrease in voter-registration activities on campus.
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 Pennsylvania municipal election is today, but many student political groups have stepped down registration efforts because this is an off-year election.
Penn Democrats President and College junior Jordan Levine, a former Daily Pennsylvanian advertising representative, said the group has only registered a few dozen students at its events and club fairs.
“People will get involved in elections that they perceive will impact them,” he said. “[But] there are not too many seats up for grabs” in this one.
Philadelphians will vote in eight races: those for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Superior Court, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Municipal Court, Philadelphia District Attorney, City Controller and Judge Retention Elections.
Democrats Seth Williams and Alan Butkovitz will face off against Republicans Michael Untermeyer and Al Schmidt in the District Attorney and City Controller elections, respectively.
None of these races match the excitement students had for last year’s presidential election, said College Republicans Chairman and Wharton senior Peter Devine. “In 2008, we were really active on [Locust] Walk,” he said. “We saw a huge spike in [voter registration] last year.”
More 18- to 29-year-olds voted in 2008 than ever before in U.S. history, according to Rock the Vote, a non-profit political advocacy organization.
Rock the Vote ran the largest youth voter drive in history by registering 2.5 million people alone last year.
“Last year was the [...] highest turnout since the early 1970s when 18-year-olds were given the right to vote,” spokeswoman Chrissy Faessen said. “They were participating in issues that they cared about.”
Penn Leads the Vote — the University’s student-run, nonpartisan voter mobilization group — remains one of the few organizations on campus leading active voter-registration efforts.
“Our efforts have not decreased,” Penn Leads the Vote President and College senior Annassa Corley said. “We will attempt to register as many votes as we can.”
This year, with the lack of high-profile races, there are virtually no candidates’ campaigns spreading awareness on campus, such as Penn for Obama.
“There’s a different landscape,” Corley said.Comments powered by Disqus
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