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Credit: Kelsey Warren

Almost a month after this fall's midterm elections, the jobs of Penn's political groups are not over yet.

Campus political leaders said they plan to spend the final weeks of the semester working to increase political engagement, plan events, and further civil discourse.

In the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election, campus political groups focused on increasing voter turnout and supporting local candidates. 

Voting data showed an increase in election day political engagement, as more than 3,300 people voted at Penn’s eight on-campus polling locations — more than triple the number of those who voted in the 2014 midterms. 

Penn Democrats President and Wharton junior Dylan Milligan said the absence of an election in the next calendar year will not stunt the increased political engagement on campus. 

For much of the fall, Milligan said Penn Dems was preoccupied with pre-election preparation and did not have ample time to devote to community service, political protests and petitions, and educative policy work. Milligan cited these as a few of the ventures the group is excited to undertake in 2019. 

Milligan also added that although the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives on Nov. 6, the club still recognizes its work is far from done.

“It was certainly a wave election for Democrats and we won the national popular vote by eight percent, that's one of the biggest margins in recent history and that’s good news," Milligan said. "But the fact that we don’t have the White House and we don’t have the Senate is still going to keep people angry and keep people engaged." 

College junior Hayley Boote, president of the nonpartisan Government and Politics Association, agreed that student political activism will thrive despite 2019's lack of major elections. 

“I think people are getting more excited about activism and political engagement in general,” Boote said. “I think all political groups at Penn put on great programming events and I don’t foresee the excitement from the midterms being stopped by that.”

Boote added that programming events on campus will work to keep the newfound excitement on campus surrounding political engagement growing. 

“I think it’s really exciting and I look forward to seeing how all the groups tackle the next coming year," she said. 

In an unsigned emailed statement, College Republicans wrote they hope to focus "on promoting civil discourse between people who don't agree and encouraging unity among Penn students from every walk of life" in the coming weeks.

And although there are no large elections scheduled for 2019, the race for 2020 presidential nomination already appears to be beginning, indicating the period of electoral lull may be short-lived.

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