The 2018 midterm election is less than a month away, and the Temple community is preparing voters for the election on Nov. 6.
Several student organizations, like Defend Our Future, Greek life fraternities and sororities, and Temple College Democrats and Republicans have participated in the movement to bolster millennial voter participation before Pennsylvania’s voter registration deadline on Tuesday.
Temple College Democrats Vice President of Internal Affairs Daisy Confoy said her organization has told students their polling places while they register to vote if they do not know them already.
Both the College Democrats and Republicans participated in #VoteThatJawn, promoting first-time, college student and youth voter registration, Temple College Republicans President Chris Smith said.
Smith added that many members of his organization are sending in absentee ballots to their home counties because “Republican votes are more crucial and effective” in students’ home districts.
According to the 2016 presidential election results, Philadelphia was the most Democratic county in the state, with 82.3 percent of voters cast their ballot for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Surrounding counties, including Delaware, Chester and Montgomery, had 50 to 60 percent of votes for the Democratic candidate.
In the 2018 primary election in Philadelphia, 27,749 people between the ages of 18 and 34 voted in the election, a 29 percent increase from the 2014 gubernatorial primary. However, only 50 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Brookings Institution.
Nick Palomba, a freshman media studies and production major from Delaware County, said he plans on voting in his hometown and knows where his polling place is.
“I come from a very right-wing area, so I think my vote will count more in [Delaware County] where opposing viewpoints matter,” Palomba said.
Julia Rivera, a senior international business and Spanish major, registered to vote in Philadelphia when she came to Temple as a freshman. She was asked by a student organization on campus to change her voter registration address to her residence at Temple, instead of at her home in Delaware County.
“I decided to vote in Philly because I grew up in a Philly suburb, so it was honestly just more convenient for me,” Rivera said.
“I am definitely going to vote in this midterm,” Rivera added. “I’m a little bit disillusioned by the current American government, but it’s the least we can do, to try and vote. It drives me crazy when people don’t vote.”
Sophia Yoo, a junior electrical engineering major, has only ever filled out an absentee ballot. She is not registered in Philadelphia but said voting is important, regardless of where the vote is cast.
“The tendency, especially for college students, we don’t really stay in touch, but I think it’s really important [to vote],” Yoo said. “It’s a way for us to have a say in how our government is run. … I was having this conversation last night with my friends, actually, but they [said], ‘Your vote doesn’t even matter because it’s just one in many.’ I think that the more people that think that [way], the more of a problem it becomes.”
Amelia Caston, a freshman nursing major, has not registered to vote yet. Caston is originally from New York and plans on either registering in Pennsylvania before Tuesday’s deadline or casting an absentee ballot in her home state.
Some students, like freshman undeclared College of Liberal Arts student Mara Colarossi, do not know where their polling place is on Election Day. The Pennsylvania Department of State’s online form allows residents to find their polling place and also provides information about each site’s accessibility for people with disabilities.
The 8th and Diamond Playground has served as a local polling place for the last 50 years, recreation leader Dana Clark said. Despite new developments in the Temple community, Clark said voter turnout on Election Day at the center has remained low.
“Not a whole lot of people show up,” Clark added. “Usually there isn’t a huge turnout, maybe 200 people if it’s something major. We get a rush around 4 p.m. because people come off work. But for the most part, there are never tons of voters.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Deputy City Editor Will Bleier is an organizing fellow for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. He took no part in the editing or reporting of this article. Deputy Campus Editor Alyssa Biederman previously canvassed for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. She took no part in the editing or reporting of this article.