With a Pennsylvania voter registration deadline of midnight tonight, groups spent the weekend adding as many students as possible to the state’s voter rolls.
Penn Leads the Vote Executive Co-Director and College senior Jared Fries estimated that between PLTV and Penn Democrats, the two groups have registered about 1,300 students as of a week ago. In addition to the 1,800 already registered students, Fries said, there should be about twice the number of registered students this year, compared to the 1,521 students who voted in 2006’s midterm election.
“PLTV will be all over the place on Locust tomorrow getting people to register,” Fries said, adding that students of Political Science professor John DiIulio’s “Introduction to American Politics” have helped PLTV as “liaisons,” visiting organizational meetings — such as the Undergraduate Assembly’s last night — and reminding them to vote.
PLTV members will deliver registration forms filed before midnight to election officials, according to Fox Leadership Director Joseph Tierney.
According to Colin Hicks, the Pennsylvania State Coordinator for non-partisan youth mobilizer Rock the Vote, the number of groups registering voters means Penn is “well covered.”
Rock the Vote’s presence at Penn included “tabling, going to events like football games, doing voter registrations and having people pledge to vote,” Hicks said, adding that after the registration deadline, Rock the Vote will shift gears toward increasing voter turnout, such as hosting Trick or Vote on Oct. 31.
Fries said in 2008, 89.6 percent of students registered showed up for the polls, “which is enormous, compared to the national average for voters our age.”
According to data from Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which studies youth voting trends, 62.1 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds with college experience voted in 2008.
Fries, however, distinguished between midterm and presidential election years — the latter of which historically draw higher voter turnout across all age groups.
“While 2008 was a very important Presidential election and this is a midterm election, I’m confident Penn students will still perform above the national average,” Fries said.
DiIulio agreed with that sentiment, explaining that voter registration is the first step to higher turnout.
“Getting out the vote requires not just exhortation but perspiration, information, Election Day work at the polls, and up close-outreach,” Dilulio wrote in an e-mail, adding that “on our great campus, I’m betting that Penn Leads the Vote and others will ‘do it again in 2010.’”Comments powered by Disqus
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