Taking advantage of the flood of new, wide-eyed freshmen arriving on campus, political groups at Penn are pushing for a higher voter registration rate in preparation for the midterm elections this November.
Penn Leads the Vote, a non-partisan, student-run voter mobilization group, will conduct a voter registration drive at the Student Services Expo in Houston Hall from Wednesday to Friday. The Penn Democrats will also conduct an all-day voter registration drive across campus on Thursday.
“The 2010 elections are incredibly important,” Penn Dems President and College junior Emma Ellman-Golan said. She added that move-in day is just an easy way to target freshmen that might not come from battleground states like Pennsylvania.
College Republicans President and Engineering junior Peter Terpeluk said the group is meeting with Penn Dems and PLTV next week and will conduct voter registration drives until the election.
Prior to the death of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) comprised the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate — a filibuster-proof majority — making the Pennsylvania Senate seat particularly important for Democrats to retain, Ellman-Golan explained.
The Cook Political Report, which analyzes polling data, currently lists the seat as a “toss up,” meaning that the race between the two candidates — Democrat Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey — will likely come down to the wire.
“Registering freshmen is a very important element,” explained PLTV President and College senior Jared Fries. However, freshmen are not the only individuals that political groups need to target, he added.
In some instances, students that have moved to different college houses or off-campus residences will need to report to new polling locations.
As part of the effort to resolve this problem, students living on campus outside of Sansom Place East and Sansom Place West will receive a voter registration form in the mail on Sept. 4, according to Fries.
PLTV is hoping to build on its previous efforts to maximize turnout — efforts highlighted by an estimated 89.6 percent turnout among on-campus voters in 2008.
“It’s important for students to have a non-partisan option,” Fries said. “They know that increasing the voter registration rate is our only goal, so they know they can trust us.”
Both Penn Dems and PLTV, in addition to College Republicans, will conduct additional registration drives until the Oct. 4 registration deadline.Comments powered by Disqus
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