With Pennsylvania being hailed as one of the key states in the upcoming November elections, Temple students will have a chance to play a pivotal role in national politics – that is, if they’re registered to vote.
According to the Census Bureau, only 47 percent of voters aged 18 to 24 voted in 2004. A key difference lies in the number of college-aged students who are actually registered to vote, which is only 58 percent. In comparison, 72 percent of those over the age of 55 are registered. This was a main concern of Juan Galeano, vice president of Student Affairs in Temple Student Government. TSG, along with several other groups, such as Lambda Theta Alpha Latin sorority, the Main Campus Program Board and Asociacion de Estudiantes Latinos began a voter registration drive to get students to register to vote.
“We wanted to raise awareness,” Galeano said about the venture’s objective.
“The upcoming elections in Pennsylvania are going to be very important in November and our whole mission behind this is to get people to think about registering and voting when they’ve never even thought of it before.”
Although Galeano said he wasn’t sure of the exact number, he said that several hundred
students have registered since their efforts began. This fell short of TSG’s initial goal of registering 1,000 new voters, which is mostly due in part to other non-Temple affiliated organizations.
Also among these groups is the National Council of La Raza, the largest advocacy body for Latinos in the U.S.
“This November, very important elections
are coming that address several different
critical issues that are of great importance to Latinos,” said Amy M. Eusebio, President of the Association of Latino Students, in an e-mail. “Therefore, it is extremely important for us to be registered to vote … so that we can decide what happens to us.”
Lina Zapata, president of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin sorority, said the Latino Caucus will be hosting a follow -up component to the voter registration drive, which the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin sorority will be helping with. The event, which will be held on Nov. 1, is called “Election 2006: Understanding the Issues.”
“We hope to be able to have information
about the issues that are at hand for this election, especially for Latinos/minorities, and to guide people to learning more about the people running for office this election.” Zapata said. “We hope to, in the least,raise awareness to students about the elections so that they can make educated decisions when placing
“This is going to sound really bad,” admitted Nate Boda, a business major, as he held out his hand to accept a voter registration form. “But I’m 21 and I’ve never even thought of registering to vote before today.”
A major concern, however, about student
voting in November is that the majority of Temple students are not from the Philadelphia area. Voters who are absent from the municipality they are registered under during the period in which the polls are open are urged by voting registration groups to utilize absentee ballots.
Students can attain an absentee ballot by submitting an application either through the mail or in person to their local Board of Elections. The deadline for absentee voting is Oct. 31 at 5 p.m. Jim Leckner, a BTMM major and registered Republican, said he is keen on his politics and knows just what he’s going to do.
“I’m going to apply for an absentee ballot
next week.” He said. “I’m content with my family’s status right now and I trust career politicians like Santorum, so I want to make sure my vote counts. I want things to stay the way they are.”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Sam Benesby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.