Reminding young people to vote is getting old. Get to the polls this May.
It is an important year for voters in Pennsylvania. On Nov. 2, our state will elect a new senator, new members to the House of Representatives and, after eight years under the leadership of Gov. Edward Rendell, decide on a new governor.
In this notoriously “purple” state, it is crucial for anyone who is eligible to cast a ballot. Temple College Republicans and Temple College Democrats are planning an effort to register as many students as possible to vote, but there’s one problem: Most Temple students won’t be here for the primary elections, which are scheduled for May 18 – six days after finals exams for Spring 2010 end and students in residence halls move out.
But considering that 72.4 percent of Temple students are Pennsylvania residents, including Temple Japan, the registration drives won’t be in vain.
TUCD and TUCR should continue their efforts to register the students who will be in Philadelphia to vote, but they should put more energy into promoting election awareness. Potential voters will be more likely to vote at home if they are aware of the players in the election and their positions on the issues. Students should also know they can cast absentee ballots before they leave the city.
The gubernatorial race is important for all students regardless of state residency or political affiliation. The new governor will have the power to make decisions that affect the university – including state appropriation funding and influence in the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
College students have more power than they think. In 2006, Gov. Rendell employed Temple students to help campaign for him, and in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds rose by 8 percent. The nation’s young people were passionate enough to vote for a new president and should be even more driven to elect Pennsylvania leaders.
The results of the first-ever non-voter survey conducted by the California Voter Foundation show that the biggest impediments to voting are busy schedules, a lack of confidence in candidates and confusion over absentee ballots. If student organizations want students to cast their votes, those groups should address these concerns before trying to rush students to the polls.