Campus organizations work to register voters

Megan Tomkins

-The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011

-Registration forms can be found at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website

-Early voting started Oct. 4

Undergraduate Student Government, Kent State College Democrats and College Republicans are striving to motivate students to vote Nov 8.

“This election will define a new ideological precedent for this generation,” said Bryan Staul, president of College Democrats.

This November, Ohioans will have the opportunity to decide whether to keep the state’s controversial collective bargaining law. Senate Bill 5 severely restricts collective bargaining for public employees. Voters will also decide whether Ohio should be exempt from the federal mandate to purchase health insurance.

To get students interested, College Democrats set up voter registration tables in the Student Center and held a voter drive. Their goal was to register students from Kent State and the University of Akron.

USG had voter registration tables as well. Its members also passed out more than 4,000 voter registration forms to incoming freshmen and transfer students living on campus.

“We have recently set up a page on the USG website to answer questions and remind students of deadlines and voting requirements,” said Evan Gildenblatt, USG director of Governmental Affairs. “A social media blitz is also being planned because we know that’s where a majority of students spend their time on the Internet.”

Gildenblatt said USG signed up 102 students in three days at voter registration tables last week.

The College Democrats had other goals.

“We hope to register over 500 (students) before the deadline in October,” Staul said. “Our future plans are to educate our fellow students on the most important issues of the day such as healthcare reform, cost of education, Issue 2 and we seek to advocate for Democratic candidates.”

Staul said that after a voting drive Friday, the group had registered 472 students. It was just shy of their goal, but Staul said it is more than any other group on campus.

Senior Dimitri Savelieff, vice president of College Republicans, said his group has been working to register students through voting drives and tables set up in the student center with registration forms.

Saveliff, Staul and Gildenblatt agree about one thing: Students are too apathetic when it comes to voting and they need to take advantage of their rights.

“It is one of your responsibilities as citizens to vote,” Savelieff said. “It is a civic duty. There are many people who want to vote, but can’t.”

Overall, Gildenblatt said he wants students to take on this responsibility and make a difference.

“I truly believe that students are going to be the deciding factor in the next few elections,” Gildenblatt said. “I’m trying to make it as simple as possible for people to register so that their voice can be heard.”

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected].