News Release: Politics, Student Life

Oct. 20,  2008

Students Get Out the Vote

From Emory Report

The first few weeks of this semester, you could hardly turn around on campus without running into someone with a clipboard asking, “Are you registered vote?” For students, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Campus voter registration efforts culminated in a Wonderful Wednesday “Election Extravaganza” Oct. 1 before the Oct. 6 registration deadline hit in Georgia.

The bipartisan party included Students for John McCain and Students for Barack Obama, as well as the Student Government Association, the Emory College Council, the Office of Multicultural Programs and a dozen other groups who provided information on the campaigns and election issues. Several administrators were on hand as well to help with the voter registration effort.

More than 1,000 students, nearly all first-time voters, were registered through the various campus outreach efforts, said Brett Henson, president of Emory Students for Barack Obama, and co-president of the Collegiate Society of America, a nonpartisan political debate organization.

Emory Students for Barack Obama can take credit for registering 936 students out of the 213,000 people that Obama volunteers registered in Georgia in the last four months. And most all of those students are registered in Georgia, Henson said.

“By having students registered here we’ll be able to get out the vote more thoroughly on campus, and a lot of what happens here in Georgia affects students so they should have a voice in that. Plus, for Obama supporters, your vote counts more here in Georgia compared to if you’re from California or New York where he is most likely to win,” he said.

Henson said he’s optimistic that the youth vote will be heard this year, although it’s “never been reliable in a presidential election, mainly due to apathy.

But Senator Obama has created excitement among young voters probably more than ever before. I think this demographic also realizes that it will inherit many of today’s emerging problems so we must vote to make our voices heard and participate in the democratic process.”

Henson’s classmate across the aisle, Emory College Republicans chair Scott McAfee, also expects an increase in the youth vote “since we have two strikingly different candidates who produce strong emotions.” McAfee added that students are “typically an unreliable group, unfortunately, but this year our vote may make a difference in some states, like North Carolina. In Georgia, students may make it a closer race, but I don’t think it will be enough to tip it to the blue column.”

SGA and College Council are sponsoring shuttles to the polls at Druid Hills High School, in an effort “to remove all barriers to students getting out to vote,” said SGA president Maria Town.


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