Kal Penn endorses Obama with eleven days left to register

Kelsey Misbrener

Seeing the president in the flesh is one thing that might cause people to register to vote. Seeing thousands of citizens stand in line for hours to hear the president speak is another. But it will take a while to see if bringing the election to our front porch has any effect on voter registration.

Kal Penn, actor from the movie “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” and the show “House,” has taken a break from show business to be a national Obama campaign co-chair. He spoke with reporters yesterday in a conference call.

“There’s a nice synergy, I think, that goes along with hearing the president personally talk about things and having the chance to meet him or shake his hand or hear what he has to say or take some questions,” Penn said.

This year, a sitting president visited Kent for the first time since Herbert Hoover passed through in a train in October 1932.

Not only did Barack Obama come to Kent, but his opponent was just a half-hour away on the same day.

“We think that Governor Romney campaigning in Ohio the same day as President Obama is actually a really good thing,” Penn said. “Particularly for young people, our hope is that it will give Ohio students a real opportunity to compare how these two candidates feel about things like college affordability, what their plan is for college students and the future for young people.”

If someone registers at a location other than the Board of Elections, that location has 10 days to turn in the forms to the board.

Then, the board has 10 days to enter the information into their database, which is then accessible to the Secretary of State, the chief elections official, in Columbus.

Though technically the whole process could take 20 days, the last possible day to register is Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. The Board of Elections must enter in all forms they receive before that date, so that means long hours for them in the coming weeks. After all that work is done, they still won’t have a good idea whether or not registrations spiked because of Obama’s visit until Oct. 12, said Faith Lyon, the director of the Portage County Board of Elections.

Students can register at the library, the student center, various volunteer stations run by the Kent State College Republicans and Democrats, or online at rockthevote.com or gottavote.com.

“If there’s anybody in this line that didn’t register,” said senior English major Sarah Krisanda while waiting for the M.A.C. Center doors to open, “I think they probably will afterwards, whether or not they like him.”

Contact Kelsey Misbrener at [email protected].