After months of rallying and sponsoring events to encourage voter turnout among the college community, Temple Votes! finally came to a close and was pleased with their results, despite a similar turnout in the last election.
Voters age 18 to 24 made up approximately nine percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press exit polls. This figure is similar to the youth turnout in the 2000 election. In Pennsylvania, voters age 18 to 29, made up about 21 percent of the vote.
“We are extremely pleased with the numbers,” said junior Kim Teplitzky, undergraduate coordinator of Temple Votes! “Poll workers said they had never seen such a high turnout before. Shuttle busses to the polling locations were full; the places were packed!”
On Tuesday, about 35 volunteers from Temple Votes! were scattered around the campus and polling stations to encourage and aid voters. The volunteers decorated the entire campus with banners and signs. Many people handed out stickers emblazoned with “I voted,” and text messages were sent out to people to remind them to vote.
The volunteers also initiated “dorm storms,” where dorm captains would go knocking on doors to remind people to get to the polls if they had not already.
Temple Votes! volunteers provided snacks and answered questions for voters standing in long lines at the polls, and contacted help if their rights were infringed upon or they were turned away.
At one polling station, numerous Temple students were nearly rejected for only having their student ID as a form of identification. Volunteers vowed not to leave the premises until all Temple students had voted. Holding true to their promise, they stayed with the last person in Philadelphia to cast her vote.
Some remained unsatisfied with the percentage of total voters that 18 to 24-year-old voters accounted for. After all the months of hype they hoped for a significant increase from the previous election. However, even though the percentage is the same, the actual number of voters is higher, as the overall voter turnout was higher too.
“First-time voters are disappointed with the election’s result; thus, they will be less engaged to go out next time. They feel their vote doesn’t count,” said Teplitzky. “We want to show that there are other things to be involved in, not this one issue. There are many local subjects that need their attention as well.”
After months of effort, Temple Votes! registered approximately 2,000 students to vote. Volunteers canvassed campus, handed out flyers, surveyed people’s political views and solicited students’ contact information to remind them to vote on Nov. 2.
The program will be resurrected in 2006 when House seats reopen and local elections take place, including a bid for reelection by Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Jesse North can be reached at email@example.com.