Students’ persistence gains voters

Voter registration groups work to make students relevant.

Statistically in the United States, young people do not heavily flock to the polls on Election Day.
According to a 2004 Associated Press article, the last two presidential elections only garnered a one out of 10 voter turnout among people ages 18 to 25.

Freshman sociology major Sean Morrison stands outside of the Student Center with a clipboard full of blank registration sheets waiting for the next passer-by (Sara Elia/TTN).

For the 2008 election, some groups around campus are trying to change that. There is a mass voter registration drive in place by Democrats, Republicans, non-partisans and even organizations with no political affiliations.

Some students believe these organizations disrupt their daily lives by soliciting passers-by to vote. With the Oct. 6 registration deadline approaching, the volume of requests may not subside.

Sophomore Jewish studies major Matan Silberstein is tired of being asked whether he has registered to vote.

“I wore a sign that said ‘I already registered to vote’ for a few weeks,” Silberstein said.
Stephanie Frank, a freshman at the Tyler School of Art, said she was asked five times in 10 minutes whether she registered to vote.

“I think it’s good that they’re pushing people, but it’s just really monotonous,” Frank said.

Freshman psychology major Jamillia Clinton agrees.

“It’s good that they want everybody to be able to vote, [but] it’s annoying,” she said.

Temple College Democrats is just one of the student-run organizations that are administering the registration drives on campus. The Service Employees International Union also manages voter registration as one of its efforts.

Pam Morris fills out a voter registration sheet while Morrison stands nearby to answer any questions (Sara Elia/TTN).

Some students have problems with a major lack of uniform by the respective groups on campus.
“All of these different groups with different interests are working to do registrations,” said Priya Kothapalli, a freshman biology major. “It’s hard for us to know which ones are actually official.”

Regardless of these issues, junior education and political science major Kevin Inacker from Campaign for Change continues to help register people to vote and believes it’s necessary.

“You can never ask too many times,” Inacker said. “In a group of 1,000 people, maybe 10 people [will] actually get registered to vote. We care about your voice being heard.”

Inacker said it is important to “tell students how [the election] applies to them.”

Meredith Zeitzer, an organizer for the Progressive Future nonpartisan movement, said she hopes for a high student-voter turnout.

“The youth vote is critical,” Zeitzer said. “There are just so many people that need to be spoken to.”
Zeitzer said having students conduct the voter registration helps them connect to other students who will be making an important decision.

“It’s about talking to the students and seeing where they’re coming from,” he said.

Progressive Future is not limited to Temple. There are students registered at other large schools in the area like the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Penn State University. Other swing states around the country, such as New Mexico, Virginia and Florida, have also registered college students.
Becky Arden, a sophomore communications major, volunteers with Progressive Future and said she notices many students want to vote in Philadelphia.

“A lot of students are already registered at home. They change addresses and they want to have a vote where they are,” Arden said.

Sophomore education major Tom Golanoski is already registered in Pennsylvania and voted in the primary for the first time.

“I think it is a great tool for the public,” Golanoski said. “It gives us that little bit of power [that] we don’t have all the time.”

Allyson Dezii said she does not see voter registration drives as nuisances.

“I think it’s great that people are trying to get kids to register,” said Dezii, a freshman vocal performance major. “I’m not bothered by it. I registered the day I moved in.”
Freshman Maddie Akers said the same.

“It doesn’t bother me that much,” Akers said. “The more people they get to resister to vote, the better.”

Anthony May can be reached at

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