Monday and Tuesday, nonpartisan political groups will be expending their final efforts on making sure students get to the polls.
Tuesday — Election Day — will see the conclusion of two high-profile races in Pennsylvania: the senate race between Democrat Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey, and the gubernatorial race between Democrat Dan Onorato and Republican Tom Corbett.
College senior Jared Fries, executive co-director of Penn Leads the Vote, said the nonpartisan voter mobilization group has prepared 1,800 balloons to decorate campus Monday.
“On Election Day itself, we’ll be hosting an info station to let people know where their polling station is and cheerleading to make sure people know what day it is,” Fries said.
PLTV will also be calling students Tuesday about voting hours to make sure they remember to cast their vote.
In addition, nonpartisan youth mobilizer Rock the Vote will be present on campus to raise awareness about Election Day.
“We’ll be making sure people know what’s on the ballot, what’s at stake. We have a voter’s guide containing info on all the candidates,” Rock The Vote Field Director Eric Zoberman said. “We’re going to make sure that people can’t move around this area without knowing it’s Election Day.”
Rock The Vote was present Oct. 31 on campus for their national “Trick or Vote” event, in which canvassers dressed up in costumes and talked to students about voting.
According to Rock the Vote President Heather Smith, the group registered 50,000 young voters in 2006, while in 2010 they registered over 300,000 people online alone. “The enthusiasm and the interest in politics has been really incredible to be a part of in the places in which we’ve been able to invest a lot of time and resources,” she said.
Both PLTV and Rock the Vote have encountered few hindrances in their GOTV efforts. According to Rock the Vote Vice President of Civic Engagement Thomas Bates, the group has encountered “systemic barriers not unique to Penn or Philly.”
“We saw a lot of people excited about voting but didn’t know the registration deadline had passed or didn’t request an absentee ballot for their state,” Bates said. “It’s a shame when people are most interested in the election is the time when they’re no longer allowed to register to vote because of antiquated laws.”
According to Fries, the only problem PLTV sees is that the election is not as salient as it was in 2008. However, Fries added, a successful turnout is likely given that student groups — such as Penn Democrats, College Republicans and even minority groups — have been raising awareness about the close races in Pennsylvania.Comments powered by Disqus
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